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Full text of "The enemy at Trafalgar : an account of the battle from eye-witnesses' narratives and letters and despatches from the French and Spanish fleets"

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idea of this book is to render tribute to 
-- the gallant men at whose expense our own 
Nelson achieved his crowning fame. Conversely, 
it should serve as the highest kind of tribute to 
Nelson himself, and those who helped him to win 
the day. Fair play to the enemy involves no 
disloyalty to the memory of our own peerless chief 
and his gallant comrades in arms. Nothing can 
detract from Nelson's renown as the ablest, the 
most brilliant, the most heroic leader the world 
has known in war at sea : 

In freta dum fluvii current, dum montibus umbrae 
Lustrabunt convexa, polus dum sidera pascet, 
Semper hones, nomenque tuum, laudesque manebunt. 

Least of all a book such as this, which purports to 
relate incidents of Trafalgar as witnessed from the 
side of the enemy. 

Throughout, what took place in the battle is 
described from the enemy's point of view ; and, as 
far as possible, in the words of the officers and 
men from Admiral Villeneuve himself, the 


enemy's commander-in-chief, downwards whose 
personal experiences supply the basis of the 

We have all heard of what happened on our 
own side, and of the heroism that so many of our 
officers and men displayed. The incidents of 
Trafalgar on the enemy's side offer a situation 
that will be new to most of us, and should prove 
interesting, particularly at the present time. There 
were many fine fellows in the Franco-Spanish 
Fleet on the 21st of October, 1805, and they did 
their duty to the utmost of their power. We, for 
our part, had Nelson, " the greatest sailor since the 
world began," to lead us ; our captains had wider 
experience, and our sailors were better trained at 
the guns than those opposed to them : that made 
the deciding difference to the fate of the day. 

This should be remembered. At Trafalgar the 
antagonists were hardly a match, in spite of the 
fact that the Combined Fleet counted six ships 
more than the British. The enemy were in no 
condition to give battle, as they themselves knew 
well and said before they put to sea. The Com- 
bined Fleet was made up from two navies, each 
trained in its own way, and differing markedly in 
efficiency ; belonging also to nationalities hardly at 
one in political sympathy. The Combined Franco- 
Spanish Fleet sailed to fight a decisive battle with 
their ships for the most part inefficiently equipped, 


partly owing to local difficulties at the port of de- 
parture, the result of international jealousy and 
friction ; also with quite half the Spanish ships 
manned only by raw landsmen and soldiers. Ad- 
miral Villeneuve, brave and talented and pains- 
taking an officer as he was, had in fact a practically 
impossible task set him to perform. There was 
no cordiality between the French and Spanish 
officers openly expressed dislike rather, on both 
sides. The French Commander-in- Chief had little 
confidence in his own officers, and, for their part, 
the majority of them were not in accord with him. 
His indecision at earlier stages of the campaign 
had turned many against him. Admiral Ville- 
neuve sailed, conscious that success was practically 
impossible ; and, in addition, weighed down with 
the knowledge of Napoleon's attitude towards 
himself for what had taken place previously in the 
campaign. Only a few hours before he sailed he 
had accidentally learned, moreover, that another 
admiral had been appointed to supersede him and 
was on his way to do so, travelling with post haste. 
All, however, said and done, whatever Admiral 
Villeneuve's personal defects of temperament may 
have been, no French admiral, with such a fleet as 
Villeneuve had under his orders, not even a Tour- 
ville or a SufFren, could have averted defeat at 


That the fortune of war went against France 
and Spain on that day takes nothing from the 
heroism and devoted gallantry which so many 
officers and men on the losing side displayed. One 
side must get the worst of it in a battle. Nelson 
himself, we are told, as he approached the enemy 
that morning, " frequently remarked that they put 
a good face upon it." Captain Blackwood, who 
was on the quarter-deck of the " Victory " as the 
fleets neared one another, drew Nelson's attention 
to "the handsome way in which the Battle was 
offered by the Enemy, their apparent determina- 
tion for a fair trial of strength." " The Enemy," 
wrote Blackwood also, in a letter home, " awaited 
the attack of the British with a coolness I was 
sorry to witness, and they fought in a way that 
must do them honour." An officer of the " Vic- 
tory," recording his impressions, says : " They 
appeared to seek the action with as much con- 
fidence as ourselves." Said Collingwood : " It 
was a severe action; no dodging or manoeuvring. 
They formed their line with nicety, and waited 
our attack with great composure, nor did they fire 
a gun until we were close to them." Collingwood 
also said : " The enemy's ships were fought with 
a gallantry highly honourable to their officers." 
"All our enemies," notes an officer of the "Prince," 
" fought with the greatest obstinacy." 


Great Britain, France, and Spain alike, at the 
present time, happily, can recall Trafalgar in a 
spirit impossible heretofore. One can hardly con- 
ceive, indeed, nowadays the state of feeling that 
was the most natural thing in the world to our 
grandfathers of " eighteen hundred and war time " ; 
the temper, for instance, in which, during the 
period of Wellington's Army of Occupation, 
British subalterns used to swagger about the 
streets in the towns of Northern France, and in 
and out of the cafes, humming, in the hearing of 
everybody, a peculiarly offensive camp-song of the 
hour, the refrain of which ran 

Lewis Dix Weet ! Lewis Dix Weet ! 

We've wallop'd your army and lick'd all your fleet ! 

We have another standpoint to-day : we take in 
things from another point of view. As the then 
Prime Minister Mr. Balfour finely said at the 
historic dejeuner to the officers of the French Fleet 
in Westminster Hall, touching on the historical 
associations of the place and the old-time conflicts 
between England and France : " After all, what 
the two nations forget is the cause of their differ- 
ences, and what they remember are the great 
deeds of heroism which have rendered both 
countries illustrious." There we are on common 
ground, Briton and Frenchman and Spaniard alike; 
each has personal deeds of heroism to remember 


in common and particularly in regard to Trafal- 
gar. The bitterness is now long since past ; of 
laurel, not of cypress, are our memorial wreaths 

... no dirge's plaintive moan ; 
Our heroes claim far loftier tone 
Oh, proudly should the war-song swell, 
Recording how the mighty fell ! 

Special recognition, indeed, is due from us of 
these days to the memory of the enemy at Trafal- 
gar as a point of honour. The example was set 
us from the other side, by the gallant successors 
of those who in fair fight faced Nelson and his 
captains that October Monday afternoon a hun- 
dred years ago, and did all that brave men could 
for the credit of their service and their flag. 
Who that witnessed it can ever forget that touch- 
ing display of chivalry on the afternoon of the 
10th of August, 1905, when Admiral Caillard and 
the captains of the French Fleet, then at Ports- 
mouth, passed through Trafalgar Square on their 
way to be the guests of the City of London in 
the Guildhall? As each French officer came abreast 
of the base of the Nelson Monument he turned to- 
wards it and, raising a gloved hand to his cocked 
hat, gravely, and with the finest courtesy, saluted 
the national memorial to Britain's sailor hero. It 
was done very simply, very quietly, very tactfully ; 
and the next moment the column had been passed. 


One grey-headed French officer, in addition to 
saluting, rose from his seat in one of the carriages 
as he passed the monument, and, glancing upward 
at the statue of Lord Nelson, raised his hat with 
a courtly bow. 

The British Empire can appreciate such an act, 
and knows how to requite it in kind. Where 
chivalrous bearing is in point the nation does not 
allow itself to be outdone. On the day of the 
Nelson centenary celebration there was hardly a 
hamlet throughout the length and breadth of 
England, hardly a colonial township in any part of 
the world, where the French and Spanish national 
flags, one or other, often both, were not flown 
side by side with our own flag. Wreaths tied 
in the national colours of France and Spain and 
inscribed to the memory of those who fought on 
the other side " To the memory of the gallant 
officers and men of France and Spain who died for 
their country at Trafalgar," ran the legend on one 
wreath had places allotted to them at the base of 
the Nelson Monument in Trafalgar Square in the 
display of memorial tributes in honour of our own 
chief. Among the wreaths to the memory of 
those who fell at their posts facing us at Trafalgar 
was one that had come all the way from New 
Zealand. And on that night when the officers of 
the " Victory " at Portsmouth met at their own 


commemorative banquet, the toast given was " To 
the memory of those who fought and fell, whether 
friend or foe, in the glorious battle of a hundred 
years ago!" All rose and stood with bowed heads, 
while the " Victory's " buglers sounded the " Last 
Post," and then the toast was drunk in solemn 

This book offers itself as a tribute in its way to 
the memory of those who fought against us at 
Trafalgar, whose descendants and successors in the 
navies of France and Spain are our good friends 
to-day. As has been said, we ourselves have a 
special interest in what is told of the devotion 
and heroism displayed on the side of the enemy in 
the battle. The men who met and faced Nelson 
on the 21st of October, 1805, proved themselves in 
fair fight foemen worthy of our steel ; and not only 
as a complement to the story of the battle from 
our side, of which every one knows something, 
should the telling of their gallantry under fire, of 
what they did and endured, prove acceptable to 
English readers, but also as redounding to the 
credit of those our own forefathers who got the 
better of such valiant antagonists. 

My plan has been, as far as possible, to describe 
the enemy's part at Trafalgar in the words of eye- 
witnesses and participants in the battle on their 
side. As to that, I think I am justified in saying 


that the subject is dealt with fairly and fully, 
if not, indeed, exhaustively. 

The first three chapters are introductory in their 
nature, explanatory of the events that led up to 
Trafalgar; utilizing largely the information con- 
veyed in the despatches that passed between 
Napoleon and his Minister of Marine and Admiral 
Villeneuve. They describe how the enemy came 
to be there ; Admiral Villeneuve's difficulties and 
arrangements for the battle ; and the circum- 
stances in which his plans were made. Something 
then follows as to the personality of the admirals 
and captains who faced Nelson on the occasion ; 
what kind of men they were, and what their 
countrymen thought of them. Next, we see the 
enemy's fleet leaving port to give battle, and what 
passed on their side during that Sunday night 
at sea between Cape Trafalgar and the Straits of 

Then we have the fleets in presence on Monday 
morning : Nelson heading for the enemy ; Ville- 
neuve attempting to regain Cadiz harbour. A 
series of chapters follow, describing what took 
place in the battle, under fire, on board those of 
the French ships from which we have personal 
accounts ; presenting these accounts in the words 
(closely translated) of the officers who wrote them, 
as eye-witnesses of the events. 


Admiral Villeneuve's Trafalgar despatch which 
Napoleon suppressed relating the French Com- 
mander-in-Chief's personal experiences up to the 
moment of his capture, appears here for English 
readers for the first time. Two official narratives 
vigorously told and full of striking detail follow, 
from the officers of the " Redoutable," the " Vic- 
tory's " special antagonist at Trafalgar ; and, in 
addition, the stories related personally of " The 
man who shot Nelson," and of " The Avenger of 
Nelson." The experiences of French officers on 
board other ships are given, each describing what 
his own ship did and went through. 

The Spanish accounts of Trafalgar are dealt 
with in exactly the same way, the idea throughout 
being to relate events, wherever it can be done, as 
personal experiences. 

On that comes the story of what happened in 
the storm after the battle, and the fate of the cap- 
tured ships, as told by some of those who sur- 
vived ; also from contemporary letters what 
people at Cadiz saw of the battle, and the scenes 
that followed in that city and along the coast. A 
chapter describes how the Trafalgar despatches 
reached London at midnight, and the reception of 
the news there and throughout England : and also 
how Napoleon and France and Spain learned of 
what had taken place. Lastly, something is said 


about the Trafalgar prisoners in England ; and the 
tragic story of the hapless Admiral Villeneuve's 
fate one April night at an inn at Rennes, accord- 
ing to the Proces-verba! drawn up for Fouche, 
Napoleon's Minister of Police. 

Among the illustrations are portraits of the 
leaders of the enemy at Trafalgar, Admirals Ville- 
neuve and Gravina, and of others of the admirals 
and some of the hardest-fighting of the captains ; 
also a set of views of the battle drawn for Captain 
Lucas of the " Redoutable," which have been 
photographed by permission for this book at the 
Louvre. Other views are given, and pictures of 
incidents of the battle from the Spanish side, 
reproduced from paintings on the walls of the 
naval gallery at Madrid, together with representa- 
tions of various personal mementos and relics of 
officers who met their fate in the battle, and a 
sketch of Cape Trafalgar as it now is. 

The three Appendices comprise documents of 
peculiar historic interest from the archives of the 
Ministry of Marine in Paris, copied from the 
originals for this book, by special permission of 
the Minister of Marine. They comprise Admiral 
Villeneuve's "Fighting Instructions" to his cap- 
tains ; the exact and complete text of Villeneuve's 
" Compte Rendu" or official report on Trafalgar, 
written by him while on the way to England 


as a prisoner of war ; and the French official plan 
of Trafalgar, drawn by the captain of the French 
flagship " Bucentaure " three days after the battle, 
a document of special historic interest and value in 
reference to the recent controversy on "Nelson's 
Tactics at Trafalgar." 

I desire to express my thanks, for assistance 
cordially given, to M. Thomson, the present 
Minister of Marine in France, and to M. Destrem, 
the Curator of the Muse'e de la Marine at the 
Louvre, for his most kind offices on my behalf; 
also to M. Marc Dormoy, for his tireless and 
invaluable help. 

In conclusion I would say that I have considered 
the writing of this story of Trafalgar from the 
other side a privilege, as offering an opportunity 
of rendering homage on the part of an English- 
man to the gallantry and devotion of valiant 
and worthy foes, and I trust that, whatever the 
shortcomings of my attempt may be, the book will 
be found acceptable by all into whose hands it 

may come. 

E. F. 






ANCHOR . . . . . 45 











ADMIRAL . . . . 189 






XVIII. H.M.S. "IMPLACABLE" . . . 228 









RENNES . . ... 376 






INDEX . 433 


At Portsmouth : August, 1905. The " Victory " welcoming the 

French flagship .... Frontispiece 


Camp of the Grand Army at Boulogne . . 6 

Boulogne harbour and the invasion flotilla . . ib. 

Vice-Admiral Villeneuve . . . . . . 40 

Admiral Gravina . . . ib. 

Cosmao-Kerjulien of the " Pluton " . ... 74 

Cayetano Valdez of the " Neptuno " . ib. 

Captain Blackwood of the " Euryalus " . 84 

Nelson . . . . ib. 

Opening of the attack at Trafalgar . . . .112 

The " Bucentaure " and " Redoutable " firing on the " Victory " . 150 
The " Redoutable " grappled by the " Victory " . ib. 
The " Redoutable " on the evening before she went down . . ib. 
The " Redoutable " fighting the " Victory " and the " Temeraire " 164 
Captain Lucas of the " Redoutable " ... 176 
Rear-Admiral Magon . . . ib. 
H.M.S. "Defiance" dealing the French 74 "L'Aigle" her coup- 
de-grace . . . . ... 206 

The last hours of the "Santisima Trinidad" . . .214 

Our only Trafalgar prize left H.M.S. " Implacable " at Devonport 228 

The "Santa Ana" at bay . . ... 252 

Model of the Trafalgar " Santa Ana" at the Museo Naval, Madrid ib. 



Rear-Admiral Cisneros . . . ... 258 

Vice-Admiral de Alava . . . ib. 

Commodore Galiano . . . ... 282 

Commodore Churruca . . . t&. 

Prison hulks at Portsmouth in 1806 . . . 392 

Dartmoor war prison gateway . . ib. 


Map Opening moves of the Trafalgar campaign, 1 805 facing page 1 
Indiamen moored across the Thames below Gravesend to bar the 

approach to London . . . ... 8 

Napoleon's medal to commemorate the Conquest of England . . 20 

Arms of Villeneuve . . . ... 69 

Captain : French Navy, 1805 . . ... 75 

Captain : Spanish Navy, 1805 . . ... 79 

On board the " Redoutable": French 36-pounder on the lower deck 89 
Plan of the attack at Trafalgar, enclosed with Collingwood's 

despatches . . . . ... 107 

Spanish plans of the opening attack at Trafalgar and after- 
development of the battle . . . . 125 

Signature of Admiral Villeneuve . . ... 133 

The Trafalgar trophy swords . . ... 143 

Signature of Captain Magendie . . ... 144 

Midshipman : French Navy, 1805 . . ... 163 

Signature of Captain Lucas . . ... 173 

Captain Lucas' seal . . . ... 177 

Signature of Captain Infernet . . ... 190 

Signature of Captain Cosmao . . ... 202 

French man-of-war's man, 1805 . . ... 215 

Captain Hardy's pencil case . . ... 232 



Signature of Admiral Gravina . . ... 243 

Admiral Gravina's Trafalgar sword and cocked hat . . . 248 

Signature of Admiral Alava . . ... 257 

36-pounder bar-shot, fired by the "Santisima Trinidad" into the 

"Victory" . . . . ... 267 

Signature of Commodore Churruca . . . . 275 

Signature of Commodore Galiano . . ... 288 

Signature of Captain Valdez . . ... 291 

Cape Trafalgar . . . . ... 336 

Torre de Castilobo . . . ... 337 

Lieut. Lapenotiere . . . ... 349 

Gravina's tomb in the Panteon de Marines Illustres . . .411 


Plan showing how the " Bucentaure " was cut off 
Captain Lucas' plan of the attack 
Captain Magendie's plan of Nelson's advance 
Plan from " Nelson : The Centenary of Trafalgar " 



rpHIS is a general summary of the events that 
-*- led up to Trafalgar : how the battle came to 
be fought. 

Trafalgar was Great Britain's answer to the 
challenge of Napoleon's great invasion scheme 
and the " Armee d'Angleterre " ; Great Britain's 
retort and counterstroke. 

Napoleon, in point of fact, of course, had broken 
up his camp on the heights above Boulogne and 
marched his soldiers off for the Austrian frontier 
seven weeks before that fateful Monday afternoon 
off Cape Trafalgar ; but the idea of trying again 
at another time had not passed from his mind. 
His plan of campaign had miscarried for the 
present, that was all ; there were other years to 
come. He left the Chateau at Pont-de-Briques 
on the 1st of September, 1805, confidently ex- 
pecting to return there another time. He left 
strict orders for the vessels of the invasion-flotilla 
to be looked after carefully, and in the same 
memorandum stated explicitly that the great 


scheme would be taken up again. Just before 
this he had written to Eugene : " Je vais dormer 
une bonne Ie9on a 1'Autriche, et apres, je revien- 
drai a mes projets." Less than a week before 
Trafalgar was fought, as the last of his out- 
lying divisions swung into line and linked up 
with the rest to close in on the doomed Austrian 
army at Ulm, Napoleon declared in an order of 
the day : " Soldats, sans cette armee que vous 
avez devant vous, nous serions aujourd'hui a 
Londres ; nous eussions venge six siecles d'out- 
rages, et rendu la liberte aux mers." "I want 
nothing further on the Continent," he said to 
the Austrian generals, when they came to sur- 
render their swords to him on that Sunday morn- 
ing before the gates of Ulm, on the very day 
before Trafalgar, " I want nothing further on the 
Continent : I want ships, colonies, and com- 
merce ! " His only way to what he wanted lay 
along the London Road, past the homesteads of 
Kent and Sussex ; and the only chance Napoleon 
had of setting foot across the Channel was bound 
up with the fortunes of the fleet that met Nelson 
off Trafalgar. The hope for the one went down 
with the fate of the other. The grenadiers of 
Austerlitz might well have passed the summer 
of 1806 under canvas at Boulogne, had it not been 
for Trafalgar. The naval force that Nelson shat- 
tered at Trafalgar had been designed as the starting 
lever, as it were, the mainspring of Napoleon's 


whole combination. On it Napoleon had relied 
to give him that command of the sea which was 
" all he wanted," so he himself said, " to decide 
the fate of Great Britain for ever." It was "in 
being" until the fate of the day at Trafalgar 
had been decided. With its defeat, everything 
fell to pieces irrecoverably. Trafalgar destroyed 
the instrument by the aid of which Napoleon had 
designed to accomplish his purpose, his only avail- 
able means for the attempt. C alder frightened 
the snake and bruised it after a fashion ; Nelson 
killed it outright. To put the situation in a 
homely way : the mad dog was still about the 
village Nelson shot it dead. 

The entire position turned on the arrival of 
Admiral Villeneuve, at the head of forty and 
more sail of the line, made up of the French 
Toulon and Rochefort fleets and some other ships 
at Corunna, with the pick of the Spanish navy 
from Cartagena, Cadiz, and Ferrol, in the English 
Channel in August, 1805. His advent was to be 
a surprise, after as Napoleon confidently antici- 
pated great part of the British Fleet in European 
waters had been drawn off elsewhere to search for 
him, owing to the general alarm that, the Emperor 
calculated, Villeneuve's departure from Toulon and 
disappearance into the Atlantic must inevitably 
cause. Villeneuve was to plan things, in the first 
place, so as to give Nelson the slip and pass the 
Straits of Gibraltar unobserved. Then he was 


to cross the ocean to the West Indies, join the 
Rochefort squadron there, and raid certain of the 
islands. 1 Returning suddenly, he would concen- 
trate quietly off Ferrol and then head north in 
force to raise the blockade of Brest and join hands 
with the powerful fleet of twenty-two sail of the 
line there six three-deckers, nine eighty-gun ships, 
and seven seventy -fours. After that Admiral 
Villeneuve with the united armada in resistless 
array was to " balayer la Manche " (Napoleon's 
own phrase) and make for the Straits of Dover ; 
to stand on guard there while Napoleon himself, 
with Soult and Ney, Murat, Massena, Davout, 
Lannes, and Marmont, and six army corps, 160,000 
men of all arms, Imperial Guard, infantry, 12,000 
cavalry, and 8,000 dragoons (to be mounted in 
England), 15,000 horses, and 450 guns, crossed 
over from Boulogne to the coast of Kent in the 
2,280 odd "praams" and armed transports that had 
been specially built and equipped along the coast 
between Dieppe and Dunkirk, for the passage 

1 He was to " do the English all the harm he could " in the West 
Indies. ' ' Let him take St. Vincent, Antigua, Grenada, and why not 
Barbados ? " wrote Napoleon to Decres. " I leave it to you to send 
orders to retake Tobago and Trinidad. " He would thus, the Emperor 
anticipated, " keep the English in perpetual alarm and strike them 
unexpected blows. " At the same time a false alarm about India was to 
be spread. " Let it be inserted in the e Moniteur,' " added Napoleon, 
"that great news has arrived from India, that the despatches have 
been forwarded to the Emperor, that the contents have not transpired, 
but that everything goes badly for the English." Five thousand troops 
of all arms were on board the French Fleet, and there were Spanish 
troops on board the Spanish ships. 


over. " The English," said Napoleon, " know not 
what awaits them ! If we have the power of 
crossing but for twelve hours, Great Britain is 
no more!" "Votre passage seul nous rends, sans 
chances, maitres de 1'Angleterre," he wrote, in 
a letter sent to await Admiral Villeneuve's ar- 
rival at Brest. " If you run up here, if only for 
twenty-four hours, your mission will be accom- 
plished. The English are not so numerous as you 
think. They are everywhere detained by the wind. 
Never will a squadron have run a few risks for 
so great an end, and never will our soldiers have 
had the chance on land or sea of shedding their 
blood for a grander or nobler result. For the 
great object of aiding a descent on the power 
which for six centuries has oppressed France, we 
ought all to die without regret!" Admiral Decres, 
the Minister of Marine and a very old friend of 
Villeneuve's, added what incitement he could. 
" On your success in arriving before Boulogne, the 
destiny of the world depends. Happy the ad- 
miral who shall have the glory of so memorable 
an achievement attached to his name." 

All was ready. Napoleon only waited for Ville- 
neuve to arrive. According to the news that 
reached London in the second week of August, 
1805, the "Grand Army" at Boulogne was daily 
rehearsing the details of its proposed descent. Its 
powder and shot, artillery and commissariat stores, 
and other war-munitions of every sort to quote 


Jomini's figures ; 14,000,000 cartridges, 90,000 
rounds for the artillery, 32,000 reserve muskets, 
1,300,000 musket flints, 1,500,000 rations of bis- 
cuit, 30,000 details of engineer equipment, 11,000 
spare saddles and sets of harness had for some 
time past, it was stated, been stowed on board 
the vessels of the invasion flotilla. Every bat- 
talion, every company, had been allotted to its 
boats, and the soldiers, to the drummer boys, told 
off to the very seats in each transport, or " flat- 
bottom," that they were to occupy. In such de- 
tail, according to the reports that reached the 
British Government from Pitt's secret - service 
agents abroad, were the rehearsal parades being 
carried out, that the troops marched on board 
every time with all the exultation of men actually 
on the way to the front, believing as they cheered 
" Vive 1'Empereur ! " that the appointed moment 
had really come for the "Descente en Angleterre"! 
Not one detail was omitted. First, there was the 
signal gun for all to "fall in"; then a second gun, 
for generals and the staff to take post ; then the 
third gun, " Prepare to embark " ; finally, the gun 
to march on board and take seats. It had been 
found possible, it was reported, to ship the ad- 
vance-guard of 25,000 picked men in less than 
ten and a half minutes ; and it had taken less 
than thirteen to disembark them all in the attack 
formation in which they were to land on Walmer 
beach. Within an hour and a half from the beat- 


ing of the Generate, every man and horse was on 
board. Bonaparte himself was on the spot from 
noon to night, riding about on his famous charger, 
Marengo, inflaming the zeal of every corps in turn, 
Voltigeurs and smart Chasseurs, Premiere Legere, 
Garde Imperiale, and the rest. He "only wanted," 
declared Napoleon, "to be master of the sea for 
six hours to terminate the existence of England." 
After that, all he asked for was " trois semaines 
pour operer la descente, entrer dans Londres, ruiner 
les chantiers, et detruire les arsenaux de Ports- 
mouth et Plymouth." A three weeks' stay in 
England would suffice, the Emperor reckoned, 
for all he wanted to do. Then he would recross 
the Straits, and march on Vienna. " Bah ! " said 
Massena curtly, when in later years somebody 
questioned in the old marshal's presence whether 
Napoleon had seriously intended the conquest of 
Great Britain ; " Bah ! la conquerir personne n'y 
songea : il s'agissait seulement de la ruiner ; de la 
laissait dans un e"tat tel que personne n'en aurait 
convoite la possession ! " 

At Boulogne, all through that month of August, 
1805, look-out men watched by day and night 
for the coming of the French Fleet ; as others 
were doing from forty signal-stations along the 
coast between Havre and the Texel. Morning 
after morning, Napoleon himself rode off from 
his " barraque " beside the Tour de 1'Ordre, along 
the cliffs to northward of Boulogne, or along 


the sands, to scan the seaward horizon with his 
spyglass for the glint of Villeneuve's topsails in 
the south-west. 

On this side the Channel at the same time the 
excitement was at fever heat. All England was 
on tenter -hooks of anxiety and expectation. 
Great Britain, during August, 1805, was one vast 
camp : regulars, yeomanry, and militia under 



[From a print of 1805] 

canvas near the coast ; volunteers inland, nearly 
four hundred thousand of them. Every little 
country town, every village, had its " Armed 
Association," who kept their arms Government 
muskets, or often only pikes during the week 
in the old church tower, and zealously drilled 
every Sunday after service. Across the mouth 
of the Thames a number of old ships, India- 
men, were turned into " floating batteries " with 
twenty-four-pounders mounted on one broadside, 


and anchored near Tilbury, to form a barrier 
against an enemy working up towards London 
by river. 

Heavily armed flanking batteries were thrown 
up on either side of the river to assist in the 
defence; while wide military roads were constructed 
north and south of the Thames between Tilbury 
and the two great camps on Warley Common in 
Essex and at Coxheath near Maidstone, to facilitate 
the rapid concentration of troops in the neighbour- 
hood. Along the South Coast, between seventy 
and eighty martello towers some of which are still 
standing were being hastened on with and nearing 
completion ; each tower being built to carry one 
heavy gun, mounted so as to fire in any direction. 
In Romney Marsh an army of labourers was at 
work, digging out the zigzags of the still existing 
military canal from Hythe to Rye; which, with its 
covering earthworks and bastions and redoubts, was 
to form an integral part of the grand scheme of 
national defence. Every little seaport had its local 
detachment of Sea Fencibles, fishermen enrolled 
for coast defence, in improvised gunboats their 
own craft with a six-pounder mounted in the bows. 

Throughout the seaboard counties from the 
Tamar to the Tyne, within twenty miles of the 
sea, the farm carts were everywhere allotted for 
carrying the women and children under nine, and 
the infirm and aged, inland on the landing of the 
enemy. Benches and seats were kept stacked in 


farm buildings near at hand to the places of 
rendezvous, ready to be fixed in the carts ; and 
the village constables and beadles were told off to 
collect the people at the first alarm. Horses and 
cattle and sheep were to be driven inland, or have 
their throats cut. The local clergy had instructions 
to see the carts with the people start ; after which 
they were to go round and see to the destruction 
of all property in their parishes that could not be 
removed. Most of the churches in the Kent and 
Sussex Weald had fire cressets set up on their 
towers, as local alarm and rallying centres. Huge 
beacons were set up on every headland along the 
coast ; with corresponding beacons on the higher 
hills inland, to carry the news of a landing quickly 
throughout the country. " The day signal for an 
enemy," says a newspaper paragraph, "is an amazing 
large heap of rubbish to smoke when set on fire ; 
and the night signal is faggot to blaze." During 
August, 1805, few people went to bed without first 
pulling aside the blinds and casting an anxious glance 
in the direction of the nearest beacon. At the same 
time, in certain out-of-the-way parts along the coast, 
to strike a light within sight of the sea after dark 
was an indictable offence lest by that means a 
signal might be made to an enemy in the offing. 1 

1 Both in London and Paris, during the summer and autumn of 
1805, it is a little curious by the way, the most popular entertain- 
ments were panoramas of the Camp of Boulogne. That in London 
was painted by Serres and on show in Spring Gardens ; that in Paris 
was by MM. Hue and Prevot, and its details, we are told, were so 
life-like "qu'ils firent courir tout Paris." 


There are people still alive in some of the remoter 
districts of Kent and Sussex who can remember 
having heard their parents describe in all serious- 
ness the intense anxiety that the mere mention of 
the name "Boney" would arouse all over the 
countryside among young and old alike ; and there 
are many parts of the country, both in the Southern 
counties and along the East Coast, where to this 
day one comes across strangely sounding place- 
names such as "Beacon Hill," or "The Beacon," 
"Barrack Field," or "Barrack Lane," "The Butts," 
"Camp Field," "Artillery Lane," "Magazine 
Field," and so on, which owe their origin to the 
invasion menace of 1805. 

To hold the enemy in check at the danger point 
and keep watch and ward over the invasion-flotilla 
and its movements in the Narrow Seas, a spe- 
cially constituted home-guard force, "the Downs 
Squadron," patrolled the coast of Holland and 
France between Ostend and the mouth of the 
Seine. It comprised four ships of the line, five 
fifty-gun ships, nine frigates, twelve sloops, and 
twelve bomb-vessels, besides eight or ten gun- 
brigs and some armed cutters and luggers. 
Whenever the French "praams" and light craft 
came out and tried to creep along coastwise, under 
cover of the shore batteries, towards their various 
rendezvous or points of concentration, they had to 
fight their way ; and for the most part were either 


turned back or forced to run ashore and blow 
themselves up. The Channel Fleet, meanwhile, 
under Admiral Cornwallis, held the powerful 
Brest Fleet fast in port, unable to stir, unable 
in effect to show a bowsprit outside St. Matthew's 
Point, or to send even a boat beyond gunshot 
of the batteries above Bertheaume Bay. Atlantic 
storms might burst in all their fury on the ships of 
the blockading fleet ; imperturbable and ever tire- 
less, Cornwallis stolidly worked off seaward for 
a few leagues, so as to keep well clear of Ushant 
and the outlying islets that fringe the Breton main- 
land ; after which, as the wind came easterly 
again, his ships would reappear and resume their 
dogged beat to and fro off Black Rocks, on 
sentry-go by night and day, week after week, 
until the next storm. Evasion was impossible : 
Admiral Ganteaume and his twenty odd sail of 
the line had to remain where they were, with 
anchors down. 

Villeneuve's business was to set the Brest Fleet 
free, to raise the blockade and join hands with 
Admiral Ganteaume. That he could only do by 
appearing off the port in force and compelling 
Cornwallis to withdraw. 

At the critical moment, however, Admiral 
Villeneuve, to whose hands, as Napoleon said, 
" the destiny of France " had been committed, 
declined to take the supreme risk. At the outset 
he had managed to evade Nelson in the Mediter- 


ranean, and had brought out successfully most 
of the Spanish Fleet at Cadiz. After that 
Villeneuve had crossed the Atlantic to the West 
Indies without needing to fire a shot, and had 
returned thence off the north coast of Spain ; 
carrying out his part of the general scheme so 
far according to his orders. He had next to 
enter the danger zone : but at that point he held 
back. The tremendous risk of the venture 
immediately ahead proved too much for him. 
After an indecisive engagement off Cape Finis- 
terre with a force detached from the Channel 
Fleet under Admiral Calder, in which he lost two 
ships, and a brief stay at Vigo and Corunna, 
Villeneuve turned off south. That the British 
Admiralty had not done what Napoleon antici- 
pated, had not scattered their squadrons, and that 
they had retained an ample force to deal with 
Villeneuve between Finisterre and Brest, is another 
matter: Admiral Villeneuve, for reasons of his 
own, did not think it advisable to go north. 

It seemed to him, in the circumstances, simply 
courting destruction. His command, he reported 
to Paris from Vigo, was absolutely incapable of 
making the attempt. He had met with bad 
weather in recrossing the Atlantic, he wrote, con- 
trary winds and storms, and the ships of the 
Combined Fleet had suffered severely. His own 
flagship, the " Bucentaure," had been struck by 
lightning, and had been badly damaged. The 


Toulon ships, he complained, had been sent to sea 
with " bad masts, bad sails, bad rigging." Those 
of his allies ought never to have left Cadiz. In 
the state in which they had been sent to sea they 
added nothing to his strength. Sickness scurvy 
and dysentery was rife : there was not a ship 
in the fleet that had fewer than sixty sick on 
board. Most of them had more. The "Argo- 
naute " had a hundred and fifty sick; the "Achille," 
two hundred. Only his extreme necessity " une 
necessite impe'rieuse et irresistible" had forced 
him into Vigo, and there he found his hands tied 
by the Emperor's own orders. Vigo had no re- 
sources of use to a fleet, and he was expressly 
forbidden to go to Ferrol dockyard, because the 
port there was a difficult one, except with the 
wind in a particular quarter, to get away from. 
At Corunna, whither he was ordered to proceed 
instead, there was nothing : not even facility for 
landing the sick. Never, wrote Villeneuve bitterly, 
had an admiral to deal with such a situation " il 
est affreux ! " He had done all he could, he said, 
and was doing so, but he was hopeless of success. 
Admiral Gravina, his Spanish coadjutor, gave him 
every assistance in his power ; but he agreed as to 
their prospects. Villeneuve had also to find fault 
with his captains. They were, he said, far from 
being really efficient. They were brave and 
willing, but without any training in the kind of 
fighting they had to expect. They could form an 
order of battle in the ordinary regulation way, 


single line ahead, and keep station ; but that was 
all most of them were capable of. The French 
system of naval tactics, indeed, was out of date, it 
simply played into the hands of the enemy ; and 
he had neither the means nor the time to teach 
his officers other tactics. 1 As to that, Admiral 
Villeneuve's complaints might seem also to tell 
against himself, to cut both ways. He had had 
most of the French ships then in his fleet, under 
his orders for upwards of ten months. But in all 
that time he had had, as a fact, next to no oppor- 
tunities of exercising the fleet. At Toulon at 
the outset, held fast in port by Nelson's ceaseless 
patrol outside, nothing had been possible beyond 
spar and sail drill at anchor and gun drill with 
blank cartridge. His cruise to the West Indies 
had been a race against time. In the West Indies 
there had been much to do, with everybody on 
tenter-hooks as to Nelson's appearance in pursuit. 
The return voyage had been made under full sail, 
looking anxiously astern every hour for the enemy's 
topsails on the horizon. Having to husband his 

1 The French captains, of course, were to a large extent the victims 
of fate, victims of the fortune of war. Blockaded in port everywhere, 
from year's end to year's end, by the superior forces at all points of the 
British Navy, they could at best be only, as Villeneuve himself put it, 
" harbour trained. " They were then called to face men " trained to 
storms," inured to sea-keeping in all weathers, matchless in their 
knowledge of practical seacraft under all conditions. The British 
Navy had in effect carried out the plan that Pericles of old laid down 
for dealing with the enemies of Athens : " If they are kept off the 
sea by our superior strength, their want of practice will make them 
unskilful and their want of skill, timid. " 


ammunition against the expected day of battle 
had effectually prevented gunnery practice at sea. 
Such was the position in which the French admiral 
found himself. It was one that might well have 
daunted a stronger man than Admiral Villeneuve. 
In closing his letter to the Minister of Marine 
on the 7th of August, Villeneuve announced his 
intention of taking with him the five French ships 
that since the war began had been lying blockaded 
at Ferrol, with the Spanish Ferrol squadron of 
seven or nine ships, and then making an attempt 
to reach Brest direct. He hoped, he said, to pick 
up the squadron from Rochefort at sea, off Cape 
Ortegal, and had sent out a fast frigate to meet 
them and guide them to his rendezvous. 1 If he 
found it impossible to get to Brest, he would then 
make for a point to southward of the Lizard and 
push on thence up the English Channel. Finally, 
he said, should he find that course impracticable 
and he had reason, unfortunately, to fear that the 
enemy were concentrating to northward of him in 
very superior force he would have to go to Cadiz, 
refit there, and then watch his chance, and, as he 
hoped, try again. So Admiral Villeneuve salved his 

1 The " Didon " was the frigate in question. On her way to find 
the Rochefort ships her captain let himself be led astray into attacking 
a smaller British frigate, the " Phoenix/' forgetful of his first duty, to 
deliver his all-important despatches. He caught a Tartar, however, 
was badly hammered and had to surrender at discretion, with the 
result that Admiral Villeneuve missed the Rochefort ships, with other 


conscience. It was not the first time that Ville- 
neuve had mentioned Cadiz. He had before that 
hinted at the possibility of his having to use that 
port. It was within his discretion to put in there. 
Permission to go to Cadiz, " as a final resort in un- 
foreseen circumstances," had been sent to Admiral 
Villeneuve in writing some time before ; but he had 
been explicitly warned at the same time that the 
Emperor would hear of his doing so with "extreme 
regret." 1 

This is what Villeneuve wrote to Decres four 
days later, on the llth, after he had given the 
order to weigh and make sail. " I am about to set 
out, but I know not what I shall do. Eight 
vessels are in view on the coast at a few leagues 
distance. They will follow us, but I shall not be 
able to avoid them, and then they will go and join 
the other squadrons before Brest or Cadiz, accord- 
ing as I make my way to one or other of these 
ports. I am far from being in a position, I deeply 

1 Troude, " Batailles Navales de France," vol. Ill, p. 551 : also 
" Precis des Evenemens Militaires," vol. XI, p. 250, where the text of 
the instructions drawn up by Napoleon for Villeneuve on the 8th of 
May is given at length. Apparently these orders were sent out to 
Villeneuve by the frigate " Didon," which joined him at Martinique. 

Villeneuve was to pick up the Rochefort and Ferrol squadrons, 
go to Cadiz, and there be joined by the Cartagena ships (which had 
not been ready when he left the Mediterranean), then, after refitting 
at Cadiz, hold the Straits of Gibraltar in force, clear Gibraltar Bay of 
shipping, and the town of Gibraltar of its stores and provisions, and, 
after that, steer once more, at the head of between forty and fifty sail, 
for the Channel, for Brest or direct for Boulogne, as the circum- 
stances of the hour rendered advisable. 


regret to say it, in leaving this place with twenty- 
nine ships, to be able to engage a similar number 
of the enemy. I do not fear to tell you, indeed, 
that I should be hard put to it if I met with 
twenty. 1 

Everybody in the Combined Fleet understood 
that he was going north. General Lauriston, who 
was on board the "Bucentaure" as commanding 
the division of troops in the fleet, by one of the 
last shore boats from the "Bucentaure," sent off 
a despatch for Napoleon, in which he said they 
were " coming at last " 1 

Two days after leaving Corunna, acting on a 
false report from a passing neutral merchantman, 
to the effect that an overpowering British force 
was close by ahead, Admiral Villeneuve, when off 
Cape Finisterre, gave orders for the Combined 
Fleet to go about and make for Cadiz. " The 
reunion of the forces of the enemy," he said, in the 
despatch to the Minister of Marine in Paris which 
he wrote while on the way to Cadiz, "and their 
knowledge of all my proceedings since my arrival 
on the coast of Spain, has left me with no hope of 
being able to carry out the great object for which 
the fleet was destined." He had himself seen from 
the quarter-deck of the " Bucentaure," both on the 
previous afternoon and on that very morning, a 
number of strange sail on the horizon, that looked 
very like men-of-war. The Danish skipper's story, 

1 Thiers, "Consulate and Empire," vol. V, p. 240. 


circumstantial in all its details as it was, coincided 
with other information he had received, and con- 
firmed his suspicions about the enemy's movements. 
It forced the conclusion on his mind that it was 
useless for him to try to go on. 1 

"Admiral Villeneuve," according to an officer 
on board the " Bucentaure," " was haunted by the 
spectre of Nelson." He had never been able to 
get over "le souvenir d'Aboukir." That after- 
noon the wind changed. It had been southerly 
since he left Corunna ; now it chopped round with- 
in a few points of due north and headed him. 
Admiral Villeneuve accepted the omen. Now, 
he considered, he could not help himself. He 
had no choice now, except to steer for Cadiz. 
Continuing to beat up against the wind as long 
as daylight lasted, at nightfall, as soon as it was 
dusk, he made the signal to his astonished fleet 
to wear together and stand to the south. The 

1 The intelligence was entirely false. The Danish skipper had been 
stopped a few hours before by a British man-of-war, whose captain, 
anticipating that the Dane would come across some of Admiral 
Villeneuve's fleet off Corunna, had concocted the tale and gulled the 
Dane with it. His idea and hope was that it might make the Com- 
bined Fleet stay where it was until Admiral Calder with a reinforced 
fleet returned to the neighbourhood. As a fact at that moment there 
were no British men-of-war, except stray cruisers, nearer than Brest. 
Nelson was just joining Comwallis after returning from the West 
Indies, and was himself going to Merton for a few weeks' leave, leaving 
most of his ships with the Channel Meet ; while Calder had already 
rejoined Cornwallis and would not part company again for another 
week. There was thus, actually, at that moment nothing to bar 
Villeneuve's passage north within three hundred and eighty miles of 



Combined Fleet went on its way, and kept well 
out of sight of land until Cape St. Vincent had 
been passed. 

On the very day that Admiral Villeneuve turned 
back, the entire Grand Army at Boulogne paraded 
in review order on the sands "nine miles of 
soldiers" under the eyes of Napoleon himself 
and eight marshals. It was to be the last muster 
before the army crossed the Straits. 


[Four trial-proofs of the medal, which was intended_to be issued on the capture 
of London, are said to have been struck for Napoleon's approval, and are now in 
existence. One is at the British Museum.] 

The Combined Fleet entered Cadiz harbour on 
the 22nd of August. Napoleon that same day 
sent off his last letter to Admiral Villeneuve from 
Boulogne, by special courier charged to deliver it 
on board the "Bucentaure" in Brest roads. "Vice- 
Admiral," he wrote, " I trust you have arrived at 
Brest. Make a start. Lose not a moment and 
come into the Channel, bringing our united squad- 
rons, and England is ours. We are all ready; 
everything is embarked. Be here but for twenty- 


four hours, and all is ended ; six centuries of shame 
and insult will be avenged." "At the very 
moment," says Napoleon's aide-de-camp, De Segur, 
bitterly, " when the advent of this unhappy Ville- 
neuve was more than ever hoped for and expected 
before Brest and in the Channel, the admiral was 
turning his back upon us. He was entering into 
Cadiz, where he allowed himself to be blocked up 
by six of the enemy's sail, thus rendering useless 
his fleet, our flotilla, the Emperor himself, and the 
whole expedition which was vainly expecting him 
at Brest, at Boulogne, and at the Texel ! " 

Immediately Admiral Villeneuve let go anchor 
at Cadiz, Collingwood's small squadron, 2 which had 
withdrawn towards the Straits during the fore- 
noon, as the Combined Fleet approached, turned 

1 Thiers,, " Consulate and Empire/' vol. V, p. 245. 

That same day Napoleon sent Talleyrand in Paris a letter in which 
he said : ( ' My fleets were lost sight of from the heights of Cape 
Ortegal on the 14th of August. If they come into the Channel there 
is time yet. I embark, and I attempt the descent ; I go to London 
and there cut the knot of all coalitions." In the same letter Napoleon 
outlined his alternative plan of campaign. Should the naval combina- 
tion fail he would raise his camps and march for Vienna. According 
to M. Thiers it was on the 22nd of August that the Ferrol despatches 
reached the Emperor, on which he called in Daru and dictated to that 
amazed official detailed instructions for the campaign that ended at 
Austerlitz. Alison gives the date as the llth of August, but Thiers' 
date is the more probable. Five days later on the 27th the order 
was issued for the Grand Army to strike camp and set out for the 
Rhine. Napoleon himself did not leave Boulogne until the 1st of 
September, the day on which the news of Villeneuve's arrival at Cadiz 
reached London. 

2 Collingwood, with from four to six ships of the line, a detachment 
from the Channel Fleet sent off when Nelson crossed the Atlantic, had 
been cruising off Cadiz and the Straits of Gibraltar since June. 


back and showed itself off the port. For eight 
days it stood to and fro close off the harbour 
mouth, constantly making a display of signals to 
imaginary consorts beyond the horizon and out 
of sight from Cadiz, a piece of make-believe de- 
signed by Collingwood to lead the enemy to think 
that his four ships were only an inshore squadron 
detached from a large fleet cruising to seaward, 
to whom they were making reports. How far 
Admiral Villeneuve suspected a ruse in this daily 
signalling, or whether indeed he had any suspicions 
at all, does not appear. The trick, however, was 
an easily played one, and one that should have 
been quickly obvious. It had been had recourse 
to on other occasions, as every admiral must have 
known. At any rate, he took no steps to drive 
off the ships outside the port and prove if there 
was really a fleet beyond, although he had ample 
force of fast vessels at his command to do so 
at any moment during the first week. It suited 
his convenience better, perhaps, to refrain from 
doing that. He had his hands more than full at 
Cadiz, as we shall see. 

Calder, coming down from the north at the head 
of nineteen sail of the line, joined Collingwood on 
the 30th of August, and the two, with an addi- 
tional reinforcement from Gibraltar under Admiral 
Bickerton, effectively blockaded Cadiz until, on the 
29th of September, Nelson arrived to take up the 
supreme command. 



rpHE situation of the enemy at Cadiz during 
-* September and the first fortnight of October, 
1805, can only excite our pity ; in particular for 
the French admiral, as a gallant and well-meaning 
man helplessly struggling in the toils of an ad- 
verse fate. Every conceivable difficulty hampered 
Admiral Villeneuve at Cadiz: alienated and 
angry allies ; a deficiency of everything that his 
fleet stood most in need of; unwilling subordi- 
nates, between whom and himself there was a 
mutual lack of confidence. The hopelessness of 
the plan of campaign entrusted to him, Admiral 
Villeneuve had foreseen from the first, and now 
that the breakdown of the scheme was patent, he 
lived in daily dread of the arrival of the inevitable 
courier from Paris with Napoleon's letters. 

Villeneuve reached Cadiz on the 22nd of August. 
He arrived to find that there he was little better 
off than before ; if not, indeed, worse. His former 
difficulties still confronted him, with a number of 
fresh troubles added. The greatest scarcity pre- 


vailed at Cadiz. The city and the neighbouring 
districts had not yet recovered from a deadly 
epidemic that had ravaged half Andalusia during 
the past spring and summer. There were next to 
no food supplies available ; the dockyard was in a 
state of disorganization ; stores for the refit of the 
fleet were almost entirely lacking. What there 
were, moreover, the Spanish authorities refused to 
let the French make use of without orders from 
Madrid. The news of the action with Calder had 
reached Cadiz in advance of Villeneuve, and the 
fact that the two ships lost in the battle had both 
been Spanish, had caused a bitter feeling of resent- 
ment among all classes. Their ships they had 
also been manned at Cadiz, and belonged to the port 
had been " deserted in action and sacrificed " by 
their allies, said the Spaniards. The officials 
showed their resentment by taking every oppor- 
tunity of thwarting the French Commander-in- 
Chief. The Combined Fleet arrived short of 
nearly everything sea-stores, provisions, details 
of dockyard equipment, down to gratings and 
handspikes, and with an empty treasure-chest. 

The French admiral, finding his indents on the 
port authorities for three months' supplies flatly 
refused, sent off urgent representations to General 
Beurnonville, the French Ambassador at Madrid. 
The ambassador had an interview with Godoy, the 
" Prince of Peace," Prime Minister and " General- 
issimo of the Spanish Navy," which resulted in 


instructions being sent to Cadiz for everything that 
the French Fleet demanded to be granted them at 
once ; but the Cadiz authorities still demurred. 
They declined, they said, to part with anything 
unless the French paid cash down. They declined, 
they said, to take French paper money or the drafts 
on Paris that were offered. Once more Villeneuve 
wrote to Beurnonville, who again saw the " Prince 
of Peace." Admiral Gravina, who had accompanied 
the French to the West Indies and back in charge 
of the Spanish Division of the Combined Fleet, and 
as Second-in-Command generally, was in Madrid at 
that moment. He had taken leave of absence to 
see Godoy personally and ask to be permitted to 
strike his own flag. As a Spaniard, said Gravina, 
he could not pass over the incident of the two lost 
ships, which had been attached to his own squadron. 
Their fate, he said, affected him on the point of 
honour. Godoy, having the fear of Napoleon be- 
fore his eyes, sent off a strongly worded reprimand 
to Cadiz, in reply to General Beurnonville, requir- 
ing implicit obedience to his instructions, cash or 
no cash. To Gravina, the " Prince of Peace " ex- 
pressed himself as personally sympathetic, but 
Spain, he went on, was politically bound to France, 
and it was quite impossible at that moment to 
accept his resignation, He suggested, however, in 
strict confidence, that in the next battle it might 
be as well to let the French bear the brunt of the 
fighting themselves. He urged on the admiral to 


return to Cadiz forthwith and do his utmost loyally 
to assist the French Commander-in-Chief. Gravina 
waived his personal views and agreed to do so. 
The port authorities at Cadiz, for their part, on 
receipt of the second rescript from Madrid, had to 
obey, but they did so very reluctantly. While 
complying outwardly, they raised difficulties and 
objections of detail at every step, procrastinating 
and retarding the delivery of everything that they 
safely could. 

To add to Villeneuve's anxieties at the outset, 
the temper of both the officers and men of the 
Spanish Fleet and of the populace at Cadiz showed 
itself openly hostile to the officers and men of the 
French Fleet. Letters from the Spanish Fleet, 
sent from Ferrol three weeks before, detailing 
incidents of the fight with Calder and commenting 
in indignant terms on the conduct of their allies 
in letting the two Spanish ships be taken, were 
handed about at private gatherings and even in the 
wine-shops. Colonel le Roy, the French Consul- 
General at Cadiz, had to make a protest to the 
Captain-General and Governor, the Marquis de la 
Solana, laying stress on the bad effect that that 
sort of thing was having. A casual remark, attri- 
buted to one of the French captains, that the 
Spanish officers were " a sorry lot," and that " their 
gross incompetence and blundering had thrown the 
two ships away," was also reported all over Cadiz, 
and did no good. 


Some of the Spanish officers, by way of re- 
joinder, talked openly of the French admiral's 
"treachery" in the fight off Finisterre. Other 
trouble then disclosed itself. The ill-feeling to- 
wards the French Fleet among the populace 
showed itself next in a very sinister way. Leave 
ashore, which had been granted on the fleet 
arrived to practically all officers, and certain of 
the men, had to be stopped owing to personal 
insults to various officers in places of public 
resort, and worse still in consequence of a number 
of assassinations of French seamen after dark. 1 

With all this, Admiral Villeneuve had to face 
discontent and ill-will towards himself in his own 
fleet. The prevailing tone among the majority of 
the French officers had become severely critical 
towards their admiral, if not actually scornful and 
sneering. They were not disposed to make 
allowances for him, nor to admit their own de- 
ficiencies to any extent. To his other sins in their 
eyes in particular, his failure with twenty-two 

1 This was the state of things at Cadiz during the first half of 
September, according to a letter from that place, which reached 
England in October, and appeared in the Times of the llth of October : 
" CADIZ, Sept. 14. The scarcity occasioned by the arrival of the 
Combined Fleet continues to be severely felt ; recourse has been had 
to Seville, and a supply of corn, wine, etc., demanded ; even the 
fountains at Puerta Santa Maria have been put in requisition for the 
use of the fleets. Our Admiral GBAVINA loudly accuses VILLENEUVE 
of treachery in the late action, and has solicited leave to resign. 
Between the sailors animosities have arisen to the highest pitch, and 
scarce a night passes but the dead bodies of assassinated Frenchmen 
are found in our streets." 


ships to defeat Calder with fifteen, his non-renewal 
of that action next day, when the weather was 
clearer and he had the wind in his favour, and his 
final turning away from Brest after that to his 
previous shortcomings, Admiral Villeneuve had 
added another, quite recently. Why on earth, 
said the French officers to one another, had he let 
Collingwood escape him off Cadiz? He had, they 
said, plenty of ships fast enough to catch up and 
destroy the small British detachment, that was 
all then off the port, had he chosen to try. It 
had been just like that before, recalled some of 
the French officers also. In much the same way, 
they reminded one another, Admiral Villeneuve, 
when he first came out of the Mediterranean 
in May, had let another British squadron cruis- 
ing off Cadiz slip through his hands. Something 
of these murmurings, as we are told, reached 
Villeneuve's ears. He was personally, it would 
appear, not on very cordial terms with either 
of his flag-officers, Rear -Admiral Magon and 
Rear-Admiral Dumanoir. Magon was too hot- 
headed to get on with a man of Villeneuve's 
temperament ; Dumanoir had felt sore from the 
first, at the way Villeneuve had been brought 
in over his head, as he considered, at Toulon, a 
twelvemonth before. 

In spite of all his personal trials, however, 
the French admiral persevered steadily in his 
efforts to get the Combined Fleet expeditiously 


refitted, and in due course, progress to that end 
was reported. It fell considerably short of his 
requirements, but it was all that could be done 
at Cadiz. All the time also, Admiral Villeneuve 
was expecting that he would receive material 
reinforcements from outside. There was Allemand 
with the Rochefort squadron, which was known to 
be at sea, and Salcedo with the Spanish Cartagena 
squadron, which had had orders from Madrid to 
try to run the blockade. Rear- Admiral Alle- 
mand was a reliable and energetic officer, who 
would prove, Villeneuve anticipated, a helpful sup- 
porter for himself; and his flagship, the splendid 
three-decker " Majestueux," would be an immense 
acquisition to the fleet. According to a message 
from Lisbon received at the end of September, 
the Rochefort ships had been sighted coming 
down the Portuguese coast. In anticipation of 
the early arrival of either or both squadrons, 
Villeneuve, within ten days of his arrival at Cadiz, 
moved a number of his most efficient and fastest 
ships from the inner port, down to just within the 
harbour mouth, to act as a squadron of observation 
for particular service. Rear- Admiral Magon, who 
had charge, was given orders to be prepared to 
slip cables at any moment, night or day, and go 
out to help the new-comers to fight their way in. 
At the same time, instructions were issued for the 
lighthouse at San Sebastian's, at the entrance to 
Cadiz Bay, to be regularly lighted up every night. 


It had been kept extinguished hitherto, ever since 
the beginning of the war. Salcedo's ships, how- 
ever, dawdled and hung back, loath to leave their 
moorings : Allemand and " 1'Escadre invisible " 
remained invisible still. 1 

Do what he would to occupy himself, however, 
the hapless French admiral could not succeed in 
freeing his mind from the one overmastering 
thought. Day after day, and with ever-increasing 
anxiety as time went on, Admiral Villeneuve 
watched for the post from Paris. How would 
Napoleon take the news that he was there ? What 
would the Emperor say when he learned that the 
fleet, on whose presence in the English Channel 
all his plans hinged, had drawn back at the last 
and taken shelter at Cadiz ? All his local diffi- 
culties weighed as dust in the balance with 
Admiral Villeneuve, when he thought of that. 
His letters to Admiral Decres, the Minister of 
Marine in Paris, at this time, are in existence. 

Immediately his fleet let go anchor at Cadiz, 

1 Admiral Allemand and his squadron (comprising a 120-gun ship, 
four 80's, a 74, and two frigates) had found easier work off the 
Portuguese coast than trying to force the blockade of Cadiz vi et armis. 
They had turned aside to chevy a British convoy for the Mediterranean 
that they ran into unexpectedly ; making a haul of store-ships and 
merchantmen, but letting the two escorting men-of-war (the "Aga- 
memnon " and the frigate ' 1 1'Aimable ") get away. 

"The mountain sheep are sweeter, 

But the valley sheep are fatter ; 
We therefore deemed it meeter, 
To carry off the latter '' 

in the words of "The War Song of Dinas Vawr." 


Admiral Villeneuve hastened off a courier for 
Paris with a despatch for Decres. Owing, he said, 
to the apparent concentration to northward of him 
of the various British fleets in home waters, and 
the knowledge of his movements they undoubtedly 
had, he had found it hopeless to attempt to fulfil 
his allotted mission. The general situation, he 
considered, had entirely altered since he received 
his original orders, and, having the option of doing 
so, he had withdrawn to Cadiz. Personally, 
Villeneuve went on, he was " in despair," " horror- 
stricken " over the situation and its consequences ; 
at his sheer inability to carry out his part in " the 
grand design." It was pitiable, he confessed : he 
and his fleet had made themselves " the laughing- 
stock of Europe" ("le fable de 1'Europe!"); but 
the position was inevitable as things were. For 
himself, wrote Villeneuve, in closing the letter, he 
felt plunged "dans un abime de malheur." Five 
days afterwards he wrote to Decres again, and 
again a week after that. In his letter of the 2nd 
of September he said he was obliged with much 
regret to inform the Minister that his fleet was 
over two thousand men short of its strength. 
There were 1,731 in hospital, and in the six months 
since he left Toulon, the fleet had lost 311 men by 
desertions. He was hourly expecting letters, he 
said ; indeed, he had not had a line since his 
return to Europe. Cadiz was destitute of supplies, 
and also he had no money. The English off the 


port were increasing in numbers : Admiral Bicker- 
ton was joining Collingwood from Gibraltar, and 
Calder's fleet was reported coming down the 
Portuguese coast. 

Villeneuve wrote again on the 5th of September. 
He was extremely anxious to hear from Paris, he 
said ; he was awaiting Decres' next despatch " avec 
la plus grande anxiet^ ! " 

The first set of despatches from Decres arrived 
on the night of the 15th of September. They 
were dated " Boulogne, 1st Sept.," and dealt 
only with the action with Admiral Calder and the 
putting in of the Combined Fleet to Vigo. As 
Villeneuve anticipated, nothing could exceed the 
wrath of the Emperor, even though, when the 
despatch was sent off, Napoleon had not yet 
learned the sequel, the retirement to Cadiz. 
Decres, in conveying the sense of Napoleon's 
comments, had, for the sake of his old shipmate's 
feelings, put things as mildly as he could, but it 
was easy to read beween the lines. Admiral Ville- 
neuve posted back his reply early next morning. 
Nothing, he declared, could console him for the 
reproaches of His Majesty. He sincerely deplored 
the situation, but he had done all that could be 
done. The dense fog in which the battle had 
been fought had prevented him manoeuvring at 
all, he said : he could not see his ships ; it was all 
the fleet could manage to keep line. He deeply 
regretted that the Emperor had formed an un- 


favourable opinion of him, and he could only hope 
that Decres would be able to represent matters to 
His Majesty in a better light. 

Eight days after that Villeneuve wrote to Paris 
to announce that he had now received on board the 
six months' provisions asked for from the Spanish 
authorities, and that the fleet was under orders to 
keep ready to weigh anchor on the signal going 
up. Two Spanish three-deckers, the "Santa Ana" 
and the " Rayo," were not quite ready for sea, but 
rather than delay he would go out at the first fair 
wind without them, and use his best endeavours 
to fulfil the Emperor's orders. 

This letter was sent off on the 24th of Septem- 
ber. Four days later the dreaded despatch, in reply 
to his letter announcing his arrival at Cadiz, was 
placed in Admiral Villeneuve's hands. It was dated 
the 16th of the month from Paris. By it Ville- 
neuve's previous instructions were cancelled at one 
stroke. In their stead was enclosed a totally new set 
of orders, signed by Napoleon's own hand. He was 
to leave Cadiz forthwith, taking the whole Spanish 
fleet with him, pass the Straits of Gibraltar, and 
pick up Admiral Salcedo's squadron at Cartagena. 
Then he would cross to the Bay of Naples and land 
the four thousand French soldiers he had in the 
fleet at Cadiz, to join General St. Cyr's army at 
Tarentum, snap up a British seventy -four, the 
" Excellent," which Nelson had left as guardship 
off Naples earlier in the year, and finally, carrying 


all the Spanish ships with him, he was to return 
to Toulon and report his arrival there to Paris. 
" L'audace," wrote Napoleon, " et la plus grande 
activite," were to be his watchwords. "Attack 
wherever you find the enemy in inferior force ; 
attack without hesitation, and make a decisive 
affair of it." 

The imperial rebuke that Villeneuve had been 
anxiously expecting, did not accompany the des- 
patch. Admiral Decres, in his covering letter, 
wrote very gravely to the effect that the Emperor 
had "reproached him very severely, and that he 
had much to do to regain His Majesty's confi- 
dence," but he refrained from going into details. 
Not a word came from Napoleon. It was certainly 
as well that Decres kept to himself what he knew. 
In his unrestrained fury at the news, Napoleon had 
said the very harshest and cruellest things of 
Admiral Villeneuve, as well as, incidentally, of 
Decres himself, and indeed, everybody concerned 
with the Imperial Navy. Admiral Decres' letter 
to the Emperor, when forwarding Villeneuve's 
first despatch from Cadiz, provoked the outburst. 
The Minister of Marine, desirous of shielding his 
old friend as far as he might, had ventured in that 
covering letter to suggest that Napoleon ought 
really to consider it providential that Villeneuve's 
fleet had gone to Cadiz. " It is," wrote Decres, 
" an act of Destiny that preserves your Majesty's 
fleet for other operations." Owing to the British 


preponderance in the Channel, urged Decres, it 
had all along been hopeless for Villeneuve to try 
to break through northward. He himself, as well 
as Ganteaume and Gravina, was of opinion, 
Decres ventured to add, that disaster must have 
attended Villeneuve 's effort. It would have been 
suicide to have run the gauntlet. He implored 
Napoleon to give up the idea once for all. 
" France," concluded Decres, with a frankness 
that made Napoleon savage, "would do better, 
in maritime matters, to return to principles of 
warfare better suited to her resources." In reply, 
the Minister of Marine, as he, no doubt, quite 
anticipated, received a letter of raging abuse. 
It designated himself and everybody connected 
with the navy as "incapables." "Les Anglais 
deviendront bien petits quand La France aura 
deux ou trois amiraux qui veuillent mourir," was 
one cruelly false and unjust thing that the Em- 
peror said. As for himself, Admiral Decres had 
better not dare to write again like that. As for 
Ganteaume, he was a dullard. Gravina was an 
ass. Admiral Villeneuve was a " coward and 
a traitor." " Villeneuve," Napoleon went on, 
" is a wretch who ought to be ignominiously 
cashiered. He has no plan, no courage, no in- 
sight ; he would sacrifice everything to save his 
own skin. Until you find something plausible to 
say, I beg you will not speak to me of an affair 
so humiliating, nor remind me of a person so 


cowardly." Napoleon's letter was dated the 4th 
of September. Ten days later he forwarded Ville- 
neuve's new plan of campaign to the Minister 
of Marine. Next day Napoleon wrote again : 
" Send off a special courier to Villeneuve to order 
him to execute this plan of campaign." In a post- 
script to the same letter the Emperor ordered 
Admiral Villeneuve to be superseded. "As his 
pusillanimity," proceeded Napoleon, " will prevent 
his undertaking the plan, you will despatch Ad- 
miral Rosily to take the command of the fleet, 
and give him letters directing Villeneuve to return 
to France forthwith and account to me for his 
conduct." 1 Decres, in his note to Villeneuve, said 
nothing of all this. The Minister of Marine's 
holograph draft of the order, dated the 17th of 
September, directing Admiral Villeneuve to strike 
his flag and return to Paris, is still in existence, 
kept among the archives of the Ministry of Marine 
in Paris. Admiral Rosily, who would start on 
the 24th, was to take it with him and hand it 
himself to his predecessor on arrival at Cadiz. 
Decres, to the last, would spare, all he could, the 
susceptibilities of his old messmate. The existing 
holograph draft of the order tells its own tale. 
" He wrote the draft of the order of recall," 
describes Jurien de la Graviere, "with a trembling 

1 "Comme son excessive pusillanimite 1'empechera de 1'entre- 
prendre, vous enverrez, pour le remplacer, 1'amiral Rosily, qui sera 
porteur de lettres qui enjoindront a 1'amiral Villeneuve de se rendre 
en France pour rendre compte de sa conduite." 


hand. He, whose pen was so ready, whose style 
was so clear and flowing, now blotted and altered 
twenty times the five or six lines by which he in- 
formed that unhappy officer of his recall, and the 
Emperor's intentions." 

To the despatch conveying Napoleon's new 
orders for the fleet at Cadiz, Admiral Villeneuve 
replied that the soldiers, who had been landed on 
the arrival of the fleet to recuperate on shore, 
would re-embark at once. After that the whole 
fleet should sail with the first fair wind. He would 
do his best, he said, and in the altered conditions 
their prospects were brighter, it might be. " S'il 
ne manque a la Marine Imperiale," he wrote to 
Decres, "que du caractere et de 1'audace, je crois 
pouvoir assurer votre Excellence que la mission 
actuelle sera couronne d'un brillant succes." Ad- 
miral Villeneuve appended the latest return of 
the state of his (French) crews, showing a total 
deficiency of 2,207 men. His total force fit for duty 
he returned at 9,733 ; seamen ratings and officers. 
The two senior officers of the troops, Generals 
Lauriston and Reille, set off with Villeneuve's 
courier on their way for Napoleon's headquarters 
in Germany, leaving Brigadier De Contamine in 
command of the soldiers in the fleet. Lauriston 
and Reille joined Napoleon's entourage on the field 
of Austerlitz two hours after the firing had begun, 
to be warmly congratulated and to learn within 
the first five minutes what had happened to the 
fleet they had so opportunely left. 


His change of orders, all said and done, must 
have come with a sense of relief on Admiral 
Villeneuve. At the outset he had accepted the 
leadership of the fleet, now at Cadiz, against his 
own better judgment. From the very first he 
had seen the vital defect in Napoleon's plan of 
campaign. He had had misgivings all along that 
the combination the Emperor had devised was a 
practical impossibility. So too, indeed, Admiral 
Villeneuve had said in effect to Decres when the 
command was first offered him, at an interview 
with the Minister of Marine in Paris. But he had 
let himself be talked over into accepting it ; had 
been induced to accept it, apparently, by the 
tempting offer made him by the Minister of Marine 
of special promotion to Vice- Admiral, and the 
ribbon of a "Grand Officier." " Sire," wrote Decres 
to Napoleon at Boulogne in August, 1804, report- 
ing what passed at the interview, " Vice- Admiral 
Villeneuve and Rear- Admiral Missiessy are here. 
I have laid before the former the grand project. 
He listened to it coldly and remained silent for 
some moments. Then, with a quiet smile (un 
sourire tres calme), he said to me, 'I expected 
something of that sort.' Proceeding he said, ' To 
meet with approval such projects need first to 
have achieved success.'" [Villeneuve's actual words 
were a quotation from Racine : 

Mais pour etre approuves, 
De semblables projets out besoiu d'etre acheves.] 


"I write to Your Majesty," continued Decres, 
" word for word his exact reply, as uttered in the 
course of a confidential interview, so that Your 
Majesty may realize, better than my own descrip- 
tion could convey, the first effect produced on him 
by the proposals." Villeneuve's besetting defect, 
however, infirmity of purpose, got the better of 
his common sense before he left the room. The 
arguments and inducements offered by his old 
shipmate won him over completely within half an 
hour. " On further consideration," wrote the 
Minister of Marine, "the risks to be run did not 
of themselves seem to him insuperable ; and in 
the end his advancement to the rank of Grand 
Officer and Vice- Admiral seemed to make another 
man of him (un homme tout nouveau). All 
thoughts of the difficulties attending the scheme 
seemed to be laid aside, effaced by the hopes of 
glory. He ended, indeed, by saying to me, ' I fall 
in with it entirely ' (Je me livre tout entier)." 

On the face of things the appointment was as 
good a one as could have been made, now that 
La Touche Treville was no more. Admiral Ville- 
neuve was "undoubtedly," to use the words of 
Jurien de la Graviere, " the most accomplished 
officer, the most able tactician, whatever people 
may say, though not the most resolute man, that 
the French navy then possessed." l Unfortunately, 

1 "Sketches of the Last Naval War." Jurien de la Graviere 
(Plunkett's translation), p. 231. The "Sketches" appeared originally 


as the situation that the new Vice-Admiral had to 
deal with developed, decision of character proved 
to be wanted even more than tactics. 

In the Spanish division of the Combined Fleet, 
meanwhile, the return of Admiral Gravina from 
Madrid had galvanized everybody into making 
at least a show of bustling activity. But the 
materials available were of the poorest quality. 
There were sufficient Spanish ships in the port 
to bring the Combined Fleet up to forty sail of 
the line all told, most of which were in good 
condition and admirable vessels in themselves ; 
but there was a serious lack of equipment for 
them, while the general resources of the dockyard 
were in a deplorably inefficient state. Worse still, 
really, was the terrible want of seamen at Cadiz. 
The crews that Gravina had brought back with 
him after his cruise across the Atlantic hi company 
with Admiral Villeneuve, were themselves sickly 
and in bad order. There had, indeed, been more 
desertions at Cadiz during September, from the 
Spanish ships of the Combined Fleet, than from 
the French. With hardly enough men at his 
disposal to go round in the ships already in 
commission, what was Gravina to do about 
manning the others, the fresh ships lying without 
any crews at all in Cadiz harbour ? Admiral 

some sixty years ago in the ( ' Revue des Deux Mondes/' as a series of 
articles; a British naval officer, Captain the Hon. E. Plunkett, R.N., 
collected them and translated them in one volume. 


Gravina addressed himself to the problem with 
all his energy, and he was as energetic a man 
as Spain possessed at that day ; but with all his 
resourcefulness he could not make men. The 
seafaring classes of Cadiz, and the fisherfolk of 
the Andalusian coast, had been practically deci- 
mated by yellow fever during the previous spring 
and summer, and most of those who had been 
spared were already serving on board the fleet. To 
fill the gaps and complete the complements of the 
men-of-war, a public appeal was made for volun- 
teers, while press-gangs swept the streets of the 
city every night. The results, however, were no 
real gain. " II est bien penible," wrote Admiral 
Villeneuve, in one of his despatches to Decres, 
"de voir des vaisseaux aussi beaux et aussi forts 
armes par des patres et des mendiants, et de 
n'avoir qu'un aussi petit nombre de matelots." 

After the press-gangs had done their utmost, it 
was not found possible to man more than fifteen 
Spanish ships at the most. With the French 
eighteen, they would bring the Combined Fleet 
up to a grand total of thirty-three sail of the line. 
In order to make the best of the situation, the 
slowest and least effective of the Spanish ships 
already in the fleet were paid off and sent into 
the dockyard, in exchange for the best of the 
recently fitted out vessels, to make up the 

To stiffen the new crews, and man the upper- 


deck guns and supply the musketry, and also to 
leave what trained seamen there were available, 
free for their own special work aloft, strong drafts 
of soldiers were shipped. They were drawn, 
some from the garrison of Cadiz, but mostly from 
the Spanish " camp of observation " at San Roque, 
facing Gibraltar, and comprised a battalion of the 
Regimiento de Cordoba (now the 10th of the 
Line), on board the "Santisima Trinidad" and 
the " Argonauta " ; a battalion of the Rto. de 
Soria (9th) ; the 2nd battalion of the Rto. de 
Africa (7th) ; a battalion of the Rto. del Corona 
(6th), divided between the "San Juan Nepo- 
muceno," the " Neptuno," and the " San Francisco 
de Asis"; the Rto. de Burgos (now the 36th of 
the Line), on board the flagship "Principe de 
Asturias," with some men in the " San Francisco 
de Asis " ; also detachments of the Rto. de America 
(now the 44th of the Line under the style of the 
Rto. de San Marcial) ; and the 2nd battalion of 
the Voluntaries de Cataluna (now the 1st Caza- 
dores). The Africa and Soria regiments had been 
with Gravina throughout, and had made the cruise 
to the West Indies as part of the proposed expedi- 
tion against Trinidad ; together with other troops 
left at Ferrol. The other Spanish corps named 
were shipped at Cadiz during September ; mostly 
for the newly commissioned ships, or to take the 
places on board certain of the others, of trained 
seamen transferred from their original ships to 


serve as nucleus crews in the newly fitted out 
vessels. 1 

Whatever his personal feelings were, Admiral 
Villeneuve spared himself no exertions. He did all 
he could do on the spot to increase the fighting 
efficiency of his ships and hasten forward their pre- 
parations for battle. His officers, most of them, 
supported him loyally in that for their own 
credit sake. They might think unfavourably of 
their leader, but the day of battle was at hand. 
Each officer then would have to acquit himself as 
best he could, on his own account. Each captain 
would have to answer to the Emperor for his own 
ship. A battle at the closest quarters was looked 
forward to by most of the French captains fully 
aware of the inferiority of the fleet in manoeuvring 
and tactical power, and as September drew to its 
last week every effort was made to practise their 
crews in hand-to-hand fighting and boarding exer- 

1 Some of these were among the historic regiments of Old Spain, 
and two of them, hy a coincidence, having regard to the place in 
history of the battle of Trafalgar, were the direct descendants in un- 
broken succession of two famous Spanish corps which served on board 
the Spanish Armada. The Regimiento de Africa, under its earlier 
name of the Tercio de Sicilia, had one wing on board the "Nuestra 
Senora del Rosario," which Drake brought to action and captured off 
Torbay in so dramatic a fashion, and the rest of the corps was on board 
Medina Sidonia's flagship, the "San Martin." The Regimiento de 
Soria (in 1588 the " Tercio " of the same name) went on board the 
Armada three thousand strong, and left a depot company of a hundred 
men behind on shore. Every single man of the three thousand perished 
in galleons that went down off the Irish coast, and the depot company 
at home was made the nucleus for a new corps, the Regimiento de 
Soria, that in due course went through other experiences at Trafalgar. 


cises of every kind. To take two instances. 
Captain Lucas of the " Redoutable " notes that 
he drilled his men personally at pistol and bayonet 
exercise, and also had dummy hand-grenades made 
which he trained his topmen to fling, two at a 
time, at the same time drilling picked gangs 
with grappling-irons. Admiral Magon, to encour- 
age those in his flagship, displayed on his quarter- 
deck a handsome and costly silver-mounted belt, 
very massive and of elaborate workmanship, which 
had been presented to him some time before by 
the directors of the Compagnie des Philippines, as 
a mark of their appreciation for having safely 
escorted home to France two very richly freighted 
Indiamen from the Far East. He had set great 
store by the presentation and had said he would 
make it an heirloom in his family. Now Magon 
turned all hands up and announced : " The first 
man to board an enemy shall have the belt " ! 



ADMIRAL VILLENEUVE began his final 
" preparations for sea on the 1st of October. 
During that day and the next the four thousand 
French soldiers on shore were taken back on board 
ship. They had been originally shipped at Toulon 
to form part of an expedition against the British 
West Indies, but time had not sufficed for its 
getting to work, and the troops had returned on 
board the fleet. They comprised a battalion each 
of the 2nd of the Line and the 16th of the Line 
(the 93rd in the modern French Army) ; two 
battalions of the 67th (now the 25th) ; a battalion 
each of the 70th and the 79th of the Line ; with 
details of the 1st Swiss Regiment, the 6th Depot 
Coloniale, and the 41st Demi-Brigade, brought 
from Martinique, two companies of the 4th Artil- 
lerie a pied, and two troops (without horses) of 
Chasseurs. 1 The soldiers were distributed through - 

1 Upwards of 5,000 troops were embarked at Toulon, but 800 of 
these were left in garrison at Martinique. Field guns with limbers 
and equipment complete were found by us on board the captured ships 



out the fleet and told off to fire from the tops and 
along the upper decks in their various ships. All 
were on board by evening of the 2nd of October. 

In the course of that afternoon Admiral Gravina 
came on board the "Bucentaure" with two important 
messages that had just reached him by courier from 
Lisbon. One confirmed the other. Nelson, the 
messages said, was coming out from England to 
command the blockading fleet. He was on his way 
already, and had four sail of the line with him. 
There was also reason to believe that a great in- 
cendiary project had been planned by the British 
Admiralty to destroy the Combined Fleet at its 
anchorage. Nelson would probably attempt it. 
Such was the tenor of Gravina's information. 

after Trafalgar. Each regiment of French infantry at this time, 
it may be added, comprised four battalions. Napoleon had four 
regiments of Swiss infantry, uniformed in red coats. The Foot 
Artillery comprised nine regiments, each of two battalions, made 
up of eleven companies to each battalion. Also, as has been 
mentioned in the case of certain of the Spanish regiments in 
the fleet, some of these French regiments at Trafalgar had filled 
a similar role in previous battles at sea against British fleets in 
the days of the Monarchy. The old representatives of the corps 
numbered in 1805 as the 16th of the Line, for instance, had fought as 
the Regiment de Conde, on board the French fleet that met Admiral 
Keppel off Ushant, seven-and-twenty years before. The 67th had a 
sea-service record going back to the time when Richelieu first raised the 
corps for duty as musketeers on board the ships of his ( ' new " navy, 
under the name of the " Regiment ' La Marine,' " the rank and file 
of which, as a fact, had themselves been drafted from the ancient 
" Admiral's regiment " of old-time France, which the great Huguenot 
hero Coligny had himself commanded. This same regiment, under its 
later territorial name of " 1'Auxerrois " had fought in the fleets of 
De Guicheu and De Grasse against Rodney in the West Indies. 


Meanwhile, the wind continued westerly, making 
it practically impossible for Villeneuve to get away. 

Bad weather, too, was at hand, as the unsteady 
barometer portended. The Spanish officers, who 
knew from lifelong experience what the readings 
of the glass meant at that time of year on the 
Andalusian coast, were strongly opposed to the 
sailing of the fleet for the present, even should the 
wind come favourably. Delay, they urged person- 
ally on Admiral Villeneuve in addition, was to the 
general advantage. Neither the " Santa Ana " nor 
the "Rayo," both three-deckers, was quite ready 
for sea, nor was the " San Justo "; and the Spanish 
fleet, as a whole, wanted at least another three 
weeks at Cadiz for their raw crews to settle down 
on board and learn something of man-of-war work. 
The French Commander-in-Chief, however, de- 
clined to alter his decision. He insisted that he 
would go out the instant the wind changed, at all 
risks. It did change, to due east, on the morning 
of the 7th. At once the " Bucentaure " ran up the 
signal flags for the Combined Fleet to prepare to 
weigh. But before anchors could be broken out of 
the ground, the wind had changed back again and 
blew steadily from the old quarter dead foul for 
leaving port. 

It was cruelly provoking for Admiral Villeneuve ; 
but he could not help himself. There he was and 
there he must stay. The occasion, however, offered 
an opportunity that he made use of. Before send- 


ing off his next despatch to Paris he would hold a 
full Council of War and place on record its opinion 
as to an early departure and the general circum- 
stances in which the Combined Fleet found itself. 
That he would forward for the Emperor's own 

The Council of War met next day the 8th of 
October on board the flagship ** Bucentaure." It 
comprised seven French and six Spanish officers : 
Admiral Villeneuve himself with his two flag 
officers, Dumanoir and Magon and Captains 
Cosmao, Maistral, Villegris, and Prigny, on the 
French side ; Admiral Gravina and his flag officers, 
Alava, Escano, and Cisneros, and the two senior 
Spanish Commodores, Galiano and Churruca. 

Admiral Villeneuve, as Commander -in -Chief, 
opened the proceedings. He gave a summary of 
his new sailing orders, and declared as his own 
opinion that the fleet must put to sea at the very 
first opportunity. Objections and murmurs rose 
at once from the Spanish side of the table. One 
after another the Spaniards protested, politely but 
firmly, and begged leave to dissent from the view 
of his Excellency the French admiral. Stormy 
weather was coming up from the westward, said 
one : the " Santa Ana " and " Rayo " could not 
possibly be left behind, said another. Delay was 
all in favour of the Combined Fleet, a third de- 
clared, quoting a former opinion of Villeneuve's 
own to the effect that the British Fleet could 


hardly remain where it was much longer, if only 
for want of supplies. There was a consensus of 
opinion on the Spanish side that another fort- 
night's stay in port, at the least, was absolutely 
imperative, owing to the backward state of the 
new levies on board the Spanish Fleet. To that, 
certain of the French officers answered back sar- 
castically, and somebody Admiral Magon used 
a phrase which to Spanish susceptibilities seemed 
to convey a reflection on the honour of the Spanish 
officers. The suggestion instantly provoked a scene. 
One of the Spaniards, Commodore Galiano, leapt 
angrily to his feet. He laid his hand on his sword- 
hilt, and with flashing eyes turned on the French 
rear-admiral as though about to offer him personal 
violence. Only with great difficulty, it is said, 
was Galiano kept back from challenging Magon to 
a duel on the spot. 

The Council then quieted down, after which 
Admiral Villeneuve, who, we are told, "seemed 
much put out," was proceeding next to deal 
with matters of procedure, when he let fall some 
allusion to the Spanish Navy that the Spaniards 
took exception to, as a reflection on their service. 
This time the even-tempered Gravina himself took 
up the cudgels and championed his brother officers. 
He replied point blank to the Commander-in- Chief, 
assuming a lofty and dignified air of rebuke. Only 
a madman, he said in effect, would think of sail- 
ing at that time. " Do you not see, sir, that the 


barometer is falling ? " " It is not the glass," inter- 
jected Admiral Villeneuve, "but the courage of 
certain persons that is falling." The sneer was too 
much even for the courtly Gravina. "Admiral," 
he said, looking straight at Admiral Villeneuve, 
" whenever the Spanish fleet has gone into action, 
side by side with allies, as has often happened, it 
has ever borne its part valiantly and led the way, 
the foremost under fire. This, sir, as you yourself 
must admit, we fully proved to you at the recent 
battle off Finisterre." ["Senor almirante, siem- 
pre que los espanoles han operado con escuadras 
combinadas han sido los primeros a entrar en fuego ; 
y esto lo hemos probado recientemente en Finis- 
terre."] Gravina wound up his reply by declaring, 
on behalf of himself and all his officers : " Mariana, 
al mar ! " (" To-morrow, to sea ! "). 

Resuming business once more, Commodore 
Churruca, a man of very high reputation as a 
scientific seaman, rose and adduced his arguments 
against an early departure. The falling of the 
barometer, he pointed out, at that time of year 
invariably heralded the approach of the October 
gales. After them the British Fleet would be 
scattered, and the Combined Fleet would have 
its opportunity. Churruca, after advancing other 
practical objections, then changed his tone and 
proceeded to say hard things about his allies. He 
frankly declared himself opposed to the Spanish 
Fleet acting with the French at all. After what 


had occurred, he said, he was strongly against the 
Spanish Fleet leaving Cadiz in company with the 
French. What, indeed, was the worth of the sup- 
port that their so-called allies were likely to give 
them in the hour of battle, after what they had 
seen ? " Have we not all seen," exclaimed Chur- 
ruca heatedly and raising his voice, " in the recent 
battle off Cape Finisterre, the French Fleet stand- 
ing by, passive spectators of the capture of our 
' San Rafael ' and ' Firme,' doing nothing, and 
making no serious attempt at rescue ? " This 
naturally made the French officers angry, and 
then there was another scene. When order was 
restored, Churruca, who had remained standing 
all the time, wound up by outlining an elaborate 
plan of campaign of his own for making the 
British Fleet wear itself out all over the world 
while the French and Spanish fleets remained 
snugly in port awaiting events and their final 

The situation was then discussed more calmly, 
and the Council in the end decided to adopt a 
middle course between Admiral Villeneuve's pro- 
posal and the Spanish view. It was agreed not 
to sail at once, but to move down to the mouth 
of the harbour and keep the Combined Fleet all 
ready for sailing until after the bad weather was 
over. Then they would watch for the enemy 
dividing his forces, which the British Fleet would 
have to do very soon for service reasons and in 


connexion with convoy arrangements, and forth- 
with put to sea and carry out their new orders. 
The Council of War unanimously declared that 
they wished to place on record "that the vessels 
of both nations were for the most part badly 
equipped, that a portion of the crews had never 
been trained at sea, and that, in short, the fleet 
was not in a state to perform the services ap- 
pointed to it." "Tel e'tait cependant le devoue- 
ment de tous ces hommes de coeur," says Jurien de 
la Graviere, "que, malgre ces sinistres pressenti- 
ments, ils s'inclinerent tous, comme autrefois les 
vaillants capitaines de Tourville devant cet argu- 
ment sans replique ' Ordre du Roi d'attaquer.' ' 
The Council then broke up, the Spanish officers, 
we are told, as one by one they passed out, bowing 
to the French Commander-in- Chief with a resigned 
demeanour, like gladiators of old Rome making 
their salute in the arena : "Ave, Caesar, morituri 
te salutant ! " 

Villeneuve forwarded the decision of the Coun- 
cil of War to Decres. He added as his personal 
opinion that the Spaniards were "quite incapable 
of meeting the enemy." All the same, he said, 
he intended to sail with the first fair wind : " ne 
consultant ni la force de 1'ennemi, ni la situation 
de la plupart des vaisseaux de 1'armee combinee." 
If the coming battle proved a defeat, which in the 
circumstances, unfortunately, it seemed practically 
certain to be, the event would at least prove that 


he had been right from the first in desiring to 
avoid the risk of a battle. 

Next day the Combined Fleet began to move 
down from the inner harbour of Cadiz to the road- 
stead, so as to be in readiness to pass out at the 
first opportunity. The Spanish officers proved 
true prophets about the weather. On the 10th it 
came on to blow hard, and the gale lasted, on and 
off, all the following week. 

Admiral Villeneuve had already held two cap- 
tains' meetings (seances) of his own officers, in order 
to explain to them, viva voce, how he proposed to 
fight the coming battle. What passed discloses 
for us one very remarkable circumstance. The 
French admiral foresaw and foretold, practically 
exactly, the general method of attack that Nelson 
had himself actually informed his captains he 
designed to deliver. It was based, no doubt, on 
Villeneuve's previous experience of Nelson's 
methods, inspired by his " souvenir d'Aboukir " to 
a considerable extent. On their own side, he said, 
the main battle-squadron of the Combined Fleet, 
the Corps de bataille, would number twenty-one 
sail. His remaining twelve ships the Commander- 
in-Chief proposed to dispose of as a " Squadron of 
observation " or Corps de reserve, under Admirals 
Gravina and Magon, with orders to act indepen- 
dently, or take post with the main body of the 
fleet, as circumstances might require. He then 
proceeded to deal with the enemy's probable tactics 


in the action. " The British Fleet," he said, " will 
not be formed in a line of battle parallel with the 
Combined Fleet, according to the usage of former 
days. Nelson, assuming him to be, as reported, 
really in command, will seek to break our line, 
envelop our rear, and overpower with groups of 
his ships as many of ours as he can isolate or cut 
off." That, in fact, was very much the kind of 
attack that Nelson really contemplated. Admiral 
Villeneuve, however, went no further. The idea 
of meeting Nelson with a scheme of counter 
tactics did not commend itself to him. Such a 
thing would only puzzle his officers. He contented 
himself, "for reasons of prudence," as Villeneuve 
put it to Decres, with an order of battle accord- 
ing to the drill-book. That, everybody could 
understand. If the Combined Fleet found itself 
to windward, it was to bear down and engage ship 
to ship, each vessel picking out her "opposite 
number." If the Combined Fleet was to leeward, 
it would form in close line ahead, await the attack, 
and do its best to beat it off. Once the battle 
opened, every captain must look out for himself, 
and trust to his own exertions and personal desire 
for glory. " All your efforts," Villeneuve went on, 
"must be to assist one another, and, as far as 
possible, follow the movements of your admiral. 
You must be careful not to waste ammunition by 
long-range firing: wait and fight only at close 
quarters. At the same time you must, each captain, 


rely rather on your own courage and ardour for 
glory than on the admiral's signals. In the smoke 
and turmoil of battle an admiral can see very little 
himself; often he cannot make any signals at all." 1 
Admiral Villeneuve's words were a quotation 
from his " Ordre pour 1'Armee " issued on taking 
up the command of the fleet at Toulon [see 
Appendix A], a memo, as to which had within 
the past few days been issued to the captains. 2 

1 This is from the pen of a Spanish admiral of the time, an officer of 
high professional eminence and character. It is in point here in 
regard to its criticism of his own brother officers and their French 
comrades-in-arms in action, and comparison of their general adherence 
to regulation and want of initiative, with the spirit in which the British 
captains bore themselves in similar circumstances : 

" An Englishman enters a naval action with a firm conviction that 
his duty is to hurt his enemies, and help his friends and allies, without 
looking out for directions in the midst of the fight ; and while he thus 
clears his mind of all subsidiary distractions, he rests in confidence on 
the certainty that his comrades, actuated by the same principles as 
himself, will be bound by the sacred and priceless law of mutual sup- 
port. Accordingly, both he and all his fellows fix their minds on 
acting with zeal and judgment upon the spur of the moment, and with 
the certainty that they will not be deserted. Experience shows, on 
the contrary, that a Frenchman or a Spaniard, working under a system 
which leans to formality and strict order being maintained in battle, 
has no feeling for mutual support, and goes into action with hesita- 
tion, preoccupied with the anxiety of seeing or hearing the com- 
mander-in-chief 's signals for such and such manoeuvres .... Thus 
they can never make up their minds to seize any favourable oppor- 
tunity that may present itself. They are fettered by the strict rule to 
keep station, which is enforced upon them in both navies ; and the 
usual result is that in one place ten of their ships may be firing upon 
four, while in another four of their comrades may be receiving the fire 
of ten of the enemy. Worst of all, they are denied the confidence in- 
spired by mutual support, which is as surely maintained by the English 
as it is neglected by us." 

2 "Some days before we left Cadiz," says Captain Lucas of the 


These were the admiral's words in the Toulon 
circular : " L' ennemi ne se bornera pas a se former 
sur une ligne de bataille parallele a la notre et a 
venir nous livrer un combat d'artillerie, dont le 
succes appartient souvent au plus habile, mais 
toujours au plus heureux ; il cherchera a entourer 
notre arriere-garde, a nous traverser, et a porter 
sur ceux de nos vaisseaux qu'il aurait desunis des 
pelotons des siens pour les envelopper et les reduire. 
Dans ce cas, c'est bien plus de son courage et de 
son amour de la gloire qu'un capitaine-commandant 
doit prendre conseil que les signaux de 1'amiral 
qui, engage lui-meme dans ie combat, et envelopp 
dans la fumee, n'a peut etre plus la facilite d'en 
faire." Villeneuve concluded by reiterating this, 
from the " Ordre pour 1'Armee." It was to be 
the Order of the Day for the Combined Fleet 
for the coming battle : " Tout capitaine qui ne 
serait pas dans le feu ne serait pas a son poste . . . 
et un signal pour 1'y rappeler serait pour lui une 
tache deshonorante ! " 

" Redoutable," "every captain received from the admiral an order in 
writing to hold himself in readiness to make sail. The same order 
drew the captains' attention to the circular letter the admiral had 
addressed to them before leaving Toulon, in which he informed them 
of what he intended to do on meeting the enemy, and what every ship 
was to do. Thus far in advance, it would seem, did the admiral foresee 
the manner in which we were actually attacked in the battle. Had his 
dispositions been generally followed, twenty or twenty-two ships of the 
Combined Fleet would not have had to contend with the whole 
English fleet of twenty-seven (including seven three-deckers), and 
some of ours would not have had to succumb as they did in spite of 
prodigies of valour and the most stubborn resistance.'' 



The " Line of Battle," as finally drawn up by 
Admirals Villeneuve and Gravina, was promulgated 
to the flag officers and captains throughout the 
Combined Fleet on the 16th of October. It was 
in the following form. 



Fougueux . 

Santa Ana . 

San Justo . 
Intrepide . 


San Leandro 


Santisima Trinidad 


San Agustin 


2nd Squadron. Vice- Admiral Alava. 

Guns. Commanders. 

. 74 Commodore Julien M. Cosmao- 


Captain Don Teodoro Argumosa. 
Captain Louis Alexis Baudoin 
( Vice- Admiral Don Ign. Maria 




J de Alava. 

( Captain Don Jose Gardoqui. 
. 80 Commodore Jean Joseph Hubert. 

74 Captain Don Miguel Gaston. 
. 74 Commodore Louis Antoine Cy- 
prian Infernet. 

1st Squadron. Vice-Admiral Villeneuve. 

. 74 Captain Jean Jaques Etienne 


64 Captain Don Jose Quevedo. 
. 84 Commodore Esprit Tranquille 


fVice-Admiral Pierre Charles 
Jean Baptiste Sylvestre Ville- 

.Captain Jean Jaques Magendie. 

Rear- Admiral Don Baltasar Hi- 
dalgo Cisneros 

Commodore Don Francisco X. 
de Uriarte 

Captain Jean B. J. Remi Poulain. 
Captain Don Felipe Xado Cagi- 

80 \ 

136 - 




REAR. 3rd Squadron. Rear- Admiral Dumanoir. 

Mont Blanc . . 74 Commodore G. J. Noel La Vil- 


74 Captain Don Luis de Flores. 
74 Captain Claude ToufFet. 

[Rear- Admiral P. R. M. E. 
80 [ Dumanoir Le Pelley. 

[Captain Jean Marie Letellier. 
100 Commodore Don Enrique Mac- 


74 Captain Charles Bellanger. 
80 Commodore Don H. Cayetano 

San Francisco de Asis 
Duguay Trouin 




San Juan Nepomuceno . 74 

Admiral Gravina. 
Commodore Don Cosme Damian 

de Churruca. 
Commodore Jean Gilles Filhol- 


T Admiral Don Federico Gravina. 
112 -! Rear- Admiral Don Antonio 


Captain Gabriel Denieport. 
Commodore Don Jose de Vargas. 
Captain Jaques Epron. 
Captain C. E. L'Hopitalier 


Captain Don Antonio Pareja. 
f Rear- Admiral Charles Magon 
74 4 de Clos Dore. 

[Captain C. Letourneur. 
Captain Don Jose Alcedo. 
Captain Pierre Paul Gourrege. 
Commodore Don Dionisio Alcala 


1 " We do not find any documents which show clearly the nature 
of the command exercised by Admiral Gravina when the Combined 
Fleet left Cadiz. In his correspondence with the minister before 
putting to sea Admiral Villeneuve does not mention the Squadron of 
Observation. This makes its appearance for the first time in the 
despatch written after the battle of October 21st. There is room for 
supposing that Admiral Gravina had independent command of the 
Squadron of Observation." Histoire de la Marine Fran^aise sous le 
Consulat et I'Empire, p. 228. By Captain E. Chevalier. 
2 Formerly British men-of-war. 

Berwick 2 

Principe de Asturias 

San Ildefonso 
Argonaute . 
Swiftsure 2 . 

Argonauta . 
Algebras . 

Montanez . 









Rhin . . 40 Captain Chesneau. 

Hortense . 40 Captain La Marre La Meillerie. 

Cornelie . . 40 Captain De Martinenque. 

Themis . . 40 Captain Jugan. 

Hermione . . 40 Captain Mah6. 

Furet . . .18 Lieutenant Dumay. 

Argus . . .16 Lieutenant Taillard. 

Admiral Villeneuve fixed the numerical strengh 
of his battle squadron, the Corps de bataille, at 
twenty-one ships. That, according to his latest 
intelligence, was the strength of the British Fleet 
then off Cadiz. It allowed also for withdrawals 
to Gibraltar for water and stores of various ships 
from time to time. Gravina's twelve ships, the 
so-called Corps de reserve, or Squadron of Observa- 
tion, was to be kept as an independent body up to 
the moment of joining battle. Its station was 
to be to windward of the rest of the fleet. It 
would thus be available to reinforce any part of 
the battle-squadron line that might be hard pressed ; 
to parry a threatened blow, or to strike a counter- 
stroke. The tactical formation was in itself an 
excellent one, and had been greatly favoured by 
admirals like D'Orvilliers and De Guichen, the 
fine fleur of the tacticians of the American War 
time, when at the head of the great Franco- 
Spanish combined fleets that, in those dark days 
for England, rode for three summers in succession 
masters of the Channel. To make efficient use 
of the formation, however, better-trained officers 


and crews were needed than Admiral Villeneuve 
had at his disposal. As will appear also, Admiral 
Gravina himself, on the morning of the battle, 
upset the whole scheme, by, at the last moment, 
throwing away the advantage of the windward 
berth, and linking up with the rest of the fleet, in 
prolongation of the main battle-line. As to the 
intermingling of the French and Spanish ships, 
that was not an innovation. Exactly the same 
thing had been done in the Combined Fleet under 
the admirals named, during their Channel cruises 
in the American War. There is no real reason 
to impute a sinister motive to Admiral Ville- 
neuve as has been done in so arranging the 
component units of his command. 

In all, the Combined Fleet numbered thirty- 
three sail of the Line. They comprised : one 
four-decker, the " Santisima Trinidad," of 131 
guns (really a gigantic three-decker, with a fourth 
tier of guns mounted along her gangways) ; three 
other Spanish first-rates, three-deckers, two ships 
of 112 guns each, and one ship of 100 guns ; six 
80-gun ships, two-deckers of the largest size, of 
which four were French and two Spanish ; twenty- 
two 74's, fourteen French and eight Spanish ; and 
one Spanish 6 4 -gun ship, also, of course, a two- 
decker. Eighteen of the total were French, and 
fifteen Spanish.. All told, there were 21,580 
officers and men under Admiral Villeneuve's 
orders, and the Combined Fleet mounted 2,626 


broadside guns, not taking carronades into 
account. 1 

As to the ships of the Combined Fleet. Accord- 
ing to Admiral Villeneuve's report on them to the 
Minister of Marine, many of the French ships 
were in indifferent trim and badly wanted docking ; 
notably the "Formidable," the "Mont Blanc," 
the "Fougueux," and the "Swiftsure" (a 74 
captured from the British Navy some four years 
before). Others, such as the " Scipion " and the 
"Aigle," wanted re-rigging entirely before they 
could be called efficient. The "Pluton" and 
"Heros" were, he said, slow and unhandy. Others, 
such as the "Algeciras" (Rear- Admiral Magon's 
flagship), the " Indomptable," "Achille," and "Ber- 
wick" (another capture by France from the British 
Navy), although they had weak crews, were them- 
selves in a satisfactory state. The rest, particularly 
his own flagship, the " Bucentaure " (a new 80- 
gun ship), the "Neptune," "Argonaute," "Duguay 
Trouin " and the " Redoutable," Villeneuve re- 
turned as " good ships and crews, fit for anything." 

Except for the "Santa Ana," "Rayo," and 

1 There were twenty-seven ships of the Line in Lord Nelson's 
battle-fleet on Friday afternoon, the 18th of October, 1805. They 
comprised seven three-deckers, and twenty two-deckers : or, classified 
in another way, three first-rates, each of 100 guns; four second- 
rates, each of 98 guns ; and twenty third-rates, one ship of 
80 guns, sixteen 74's and three 64's. Besides these, of ships ' ' under 
the Line," there were four frigates, a schooner and a cutter. In 
round numbers, Nelson's fleet was manned by 16,820 officers and 
men, and mounted 2,148 broadside guns (exclusive of carronades). 


" San Justo," which according to the Spaniards 
had been hastened out of the dockyard before 
their refit was complete, the Spanish ships were, 
as a whole, in fair order, although their gunnery 
arrangements were reported in some cases to be 
defective. They had collected sufficient men ; but 
barely 10 per cent were seamen. The "Principe 
de Asturias," for one, bore 1,113 all told on her 
books ; the " Santa Ana," 1,188 ; the " Santisima 
Trinidad," 1,048. Of other ships, the "Rayo" 
carried 830, the "Neptuno" 800, the "Argonauta" 
798, and so on ; down to the little San Leandro 
with over 600 of all ranks and ratings. 

Events began to move quickly as the middle of 
the month was reached. On the 15th of October, 
the day before he issued his " Line of Battle," 
Villeneuve got his first inkling of the coming of 
Admiral Rosily. The intelligence came in quite 
an unofficial way, by private letters from Bayonne. 
He took the news very calmly. Apparently he 
did not at all realize its serious import for himself. 
This is what Villeneuve said to Decres about it, 
writing that same afternoon: "Des lettres par- 
ticulieres de Bayonne nous annoncent 1'arrivee 
du Vice-amiral Rosily, charge d'une mission pour 
Cadix. Rien ne pouvait m'etre plus agreable 
que cette nouvelle. Je suis au desespoir d'etre tou- 
jours seul a correspondre avec Votre Excellence 
sur des objets aussi delicats. L'experience et les 
lumieres du Vice-amiral Rosily viendront bien a 


propos a mon aide, et lorsqu'il aura vu, je ne crain- 
drai nullement son jugement et sur le present et 
sur le passe ! " 

Admiral Rosily was at the top of the Vice- 
Admirals' list. He had not been afloat for twelve 
or fourteen years, and was understood in naval 
circles in France to have given up the idea of 
hoisting his flag again, although his name was still 
on the active list. For the past ten years scope 
had been found for his well-known administrative 
talents on various special "missions," to use 
Admiral Villeneuve's word, and as Inspector- 
General of naval arsenals and dockyards, also in 
departmental work at the Ministry of Marine 
connected with scientific and hydrographic matters. 
Thus, on the face of things, there was little about 
the sending of Admiral Rosily to Cadiz, to make 
Villeneuve uneasy for his own position. 

Not many hours later, however, further news 
came to hand that put another complexion on 
the affair. A private letter from Madrid was 
sent to Villeneuve. Admiral Rosily, said the 
letter, had just arrived there. He was travelling 
post, hastening with extraordinary despatch for 
Cadiz. Not a word could be gleaned as to what 
he was to do when he got there; but, said the 
writer, he would probably be delayed in Madrid 
for a day or two, owing to a breakdown to his 
travelling carriage just outside the capital. Now 
a suspicion crossed Villeneuve's mind. It dawned 


on him that something was kept back. There 
was also, it would appear, a persistent rumour 
in Cadiz that the Commander-in-Chief was to be 
superseded. He, the officer in supreme authority 
at Cadiz, had not had a line from Paris in regard 
to the matter, had not heard a word from his own 
immediate superior, the Minister of Marine, to 
advise him of the coming of Rosily. Why all 
this secrecy ? Why this haste ? What was be- 
hind it all ? What did it forebode to himself ? 
With his mind full of anxiety, Admiral Villeneuve 
expressed his deep concern to the Minister of 
Marine. " I shall be happy," wrote Villeneuve, " to 
yield the first place to Rosily, if I am allowed to 
have the second ; but it will be too hard to have to 
give up all hope of being vouchsafed the oppor- 
tunity of proving that I am worthy of a better 

His plans were made if only the wind would 
change out of the west and afford a chance of put- 
ting them hi execution. What he had wanted to do 
first of all, wrote Villeneuve to Decres, was to try 
to run out to sea for two hundred leagues. 
Then he would double back and make for the 
Straits. An east wind would take them out, 
and the impending gale from the south-west, when 
it came on, would be to their advantage and 
carry the Combined Fleet back and through into 
the Mediterranean. Yet, even if the wind favoured 
him, he feared the enemy's watch on Cadiz was 


too close to give him an opportunity of getting 
away unseen. As he wrote, said Villeneuve, 
there were five English frigates, a brig, and a 
schooner, to be counted in the offing. A sortie 
might be attempted at night, but there was no 
moon just now. It was hopeless for such a fleet 
as his to try to go out of harbour in the dark. 
Besides all that, half his ships sailed so badly, 
were such slow craft, that, even supposing he did 
get clear off 1 to sea, he would assuredly be over- 
taken and brought to battle before he had got far. 
The alternative was to attempt to make coast- 
wise for the Straits, and take their chance of 
the consequences. With a fleet like that, how- 
ever, upwards of a third of it slow ships and 
manned by raw Spanish landsmen, the risk was 
enormous. They would almost certainly be caught 
half way, and annihilation must follow. " To leave 
Cadiz," said Villeneuve, "without being sure of 
passing the Straits within a few hours will mean 
the certainty of being brought to action by a 
superior enemy and the loss of everything. I 
cannot believe," he added, " that it is His Imperial 
Majesty's intention to expose so large a portion of 
his naval forces to such a risk, and one that does 
not offer any chance of acquiring glory." To make 
for the Straits along the coast was, all the same, 
the only plan for him to adopt. He had direct 
orders from the Emperor himself to go out without 
further delay, and go out he must and would. 


He only waited now for the wind to change 
and render exit possible. As soon as the wind did 
change, Rear- Admiral Magon, with part of the 
French Third Squadron, would sally out, sweep 
back the English cruisers, and make a bold recon- 
naissance seaward to ascertain Nelson's exact 
strength. While that was being done, the re- 
mainder of the Combined Fleet would be working 
out of harbour, and he trusted that within twenty- 
four hours all would be able to get out and be 
fairly on their way. The wind must change soon. 
It had blown from the west for upwards of ten 
days without shifting once. 

The wind began to show signs of change during 
the evening of the 17th. It backed and fell 
away fitfully to light and variable airs until the 
afternoon of the following day, when it seemed 
likely to freshen from the eastward, fair for leaving 
Cadiz. It was Admiral Villeneuve's wished-for 
opportunity, and, as things happened, he had had 
offered him that same morning, in addition, a new 
and powerful incentive for seizing it. An official 
message came up the coast from Tarifa and Alge- 
9iras, signalled along the line of Spanish look-out 
posts, to the effect that six British men-of-war, 
apparently detached from the enemy's main fleet, 
had been sighted passing through the Straits for 
Gibraltar. 1 That meant, according to Villeneuve's 

1 The news was strangely belated. Admiral Louis's squadron had 
parted company with Nelson more than a fortnight before. 


calculations, a temporary reduction of his op- 
ponent's strength by a fifth of what he believed 
it to be. He had, of course, no means of know- 
ing that fresh ships to an equal number had recently 
joined Nelson from England. It afforded also a 
reason for leaving port exactly in accordance with 
the recommendations of the Council of War, and 
effectively met one of the principal Spanish ob- 
jections to sailing, as raised at the Council. Ville- 
neuve made up his mind to quit Cadiz forthwith. 

He signalled to the Spanish flagship for Admiral 
Gravina, second-in-command of the Combined 
Fleet, to come on board the French flagship 
" Bucentaure " at once. The Spanish admiral 
came. In reply to Villeneuve, he expressed his 
readiness to sail that afternoon. He was prepared, 
Gravina said, to follow the movements of the Im- 
perial Navy in everything. Those were his instruc- 
tions from Madrid. That was all that passed, and 
it was enough. Gravina went down the side of 
the "Bucentaure" into his boat, and Villeneuve 
forthwith ran up the general signal, " Prepare to 
make sail." He intended to try to get out of 
harbour by sunset. But once more, at the last 
moment, the wind failed him. It dropped after 
four o'clock, and died away to almost a dead calm. 

Disappointed as he was, Admiral Villeneuve de- 
termined to persevere. Orders were sent round 
for the whole fleet to be ready to weigh anchor 
and put to sea at daybreak next morning. 



THESE were some of the men who were to 
lead the Combined Fleet on the coming day 
of battle. There were many gallant and high- 
spirited officers on board both the French and 
Spanish ships, and some of them were men of 
reputation among their countrymen for daring 
and resource. 

Concerning Admiral Villeneuve, apart from 
what has been already said, there are other in- 
teresting details of which some mention should 
be made. He was originally an officer of the 
Royal Navy of France, one of the few members 
of the noblesse in the sea-service who did not 
throw up their commissions and quit the country 
at the Revolution. As a young "garde de pavilion" 
he had served with the famous Bailli de Suffren in 
his "beaux combats de 1'Inde," as the French Navy 
to this day calls the battles of De Suffren's heroi- 
cally contested campaign during the years 1782 

and 1783. The Revolution gave him his captaincy, 




and he had hoisted his flag as rear-admiral in 1796, 
before he was thirty-three. Everybody looked on 
Rear- Admiral Villeneuve (he dropped the "de" 
before his name after 1793) as a very keen and 
able officer, of a studious turn, exceptionally well 
informed on all professional topics, and a versatile 
and clever tactician. 
Napoleon met him first 
at the siege of Toulon 
in 1793, and after that 
saw something more of 
him during the expedi- 
tion to Egypt. Ville- 
neuve was junior flag- 
officer in Brueys' fleet, 
and he was the only 
French admiral who got 
away after the battle of 
the Nile. That escape, 
early on the morning 
after the disaster 
though it was hardly 
a feat of arms to take 
much pride in Nap- 
oleon thought very 
highly of, and he long afterwards spoke of Ville- 
neuve as "a lucky man." To Napoleon's belief 
in his " luck," indeed, Villeneuve owed his present 
command. Personally, Admiral Villeneuve was 
a gentleman in the best sense of the word ; well 


[Gules : semee of escutcheons or. Six lances in 
saltire of the second. An inescutcheon azure, 
charged with a fleur de lis or.] 


bred and courteous, very quiet and reserved in 
manner, of unblemished character as a man of 
honour, and devotedly attached to his home. His 
personal courage was above question. That was 
in his blood. His ancestry itself forbade the 
thought of anything else. The Villeneuves did 
not beget cowards. One Villeneuve fell, sword 
in hand, at the side of Roland hi the pass of 
Roncesvalles. Another charged side by side with 
our own Cceur de Lion in Palestine, and left his 
bones out there. A descendant of the famous 
Villeneuve "Riche d'Honneur," leader of the 
Lances of Aragon, Bayard's friend and trusty 
comrade in arms, of Raymond de Villeneuve, 
hardly less renowned in arms, and of that grand 
old Romee, the historic Seneschal de Provence, 
whom Dante met in Paradise 

Luce la luce di Romeo di cui 

Fu 1'opra grande e bella mal gradita. 

' Shines Romeo's light, whose goodly deed and fair, 
Met ill acceptance.' 

a knight of Malta himself, the ninety-first 
Villeneuve (counting in Grand Master Helion) 
that the family had sent into the Order, could 
hardly be a coward. Poltron de tete, in the words 
of Napoleon's bitter sneer, as the French leader 
may, in regard to the very exceptional circum- 
stances of that campaign, have seemed in some 
degree, none, as the hour of battle drew on, could 
speak of Admiral Villeneuve as Poltron de cceur. 


Admiral Villeneuve went forth to meet his fate at 
Trafalgar with a silent prayer on his lips to the 
good Sainte Roseleyne of his House, and a farewell 
thought at heart for that dear wife far away in 
their home among the pinewoods of Bargemen in 
Provence, whom he never more should see in life, 
braced up to meet his doom in a spirit in keeping 
with the traditions of his line. 1 

Of Rear-Admiral Dumanoir le Pelley, the 
second-in-command of the French Fleet, very 
little is on record. He was a young officer, only 
in his thirty-fifth year (eight years younger than 
Admiral Villeneuve). Dumanoir, like his chief, 
had worn the King's uniform in the navy of the 
ancien regime, which he first entered eighteen years 
before. He, too, had good blood in his veins. The 
family of Du Manoir le Pelle, as the young " garde 
de pavilion " wrote his name when he took up his 
first commission, was among the oldest and 
wealthiest among the Seigneurie of the Cotentin, 
owning large estates ; and one that had already 
given two admirals to the navy of France. It was 

1 They hold Admiral Villeneuve's memory in very affectionate regard 
at Bargemen, and the visitor from England who is so fortunate as to 
be accorded the entree to the ancestral home of the Villeneuves, will 
see there to-day a portrait in oils of the admiral, and round the walls 
of the schoolroom some cleverly executed water-colour sketches of 
ships he served in before he got his flag, done by him and sent home. 
At Trafalgar, Admiral Villeneuve had a young nephew, a midshipman, 
serving as one of his aides-de-camp on board the " Bucentaure." That 
officer's great-grandson is a lieutenant de vaisseau in the French Navy 
of our own time. 


said that he owed his promotion to flag rank to 
Murat's private influence with Napoleon. Captain 
Dumanoir commanded the frigate in which Murat 
made his escape from Egypt, together with 
Marmont and Lannes, at the same time that 
Napoleon himself got safely away in another 
vessel. Very soon afterwards he hoisted his flag. 
Dumanoir had already had experience as second- 
in-command in battle, with Admiral Linois in the 
action of Alge9iras. 

The third-in-command, Rear-Admiral Magon, 
was another sort of man. He was of the same 
age as Admiral Villeneuve, like whom he was of 
noble birth, and had had his early training as an 
officer of the Navy of the ancien regime. De 
Magon de Clos-Dord was his full name; his 
family belonging to the old Breton noblesse, to 
one of the junior branches of an illustrious twelfth- 
century house, the head of which was the Marquis 
de Gervaisais. As a young " garde de pavilion " on 
board the Comte d'Orvillier's flagship in his battle 
with Admiral Keppel off Ushant, Magon had had 
his baptism of fire as a boy of fourteen. After 
that he witnessed De Guichen's three drawn 
battles with Rodney in the West Indies in 1781. 
The ship he was in, the " Caton," was sent out of 
the fleet to repair damages, and so missed the 
great battle of the 12th of April, 1782, in which 
the Comte De Grasse experienced disaster, but 
a pursuing British squadron intercepted the " Caton" 


on her way to port, and young Magon ended his 
first war as a prisoner in England. After that 
many things had happened, Magon, however, 
always showing himself a bold and resolute officer. 
In 1804 Napoleon had selected him to have charge 
of the advance guard of gunboats to lead the 
invasion-flotilla across to Deal ; but circumstances 
had removed Magon thence and sent him to join 
Villeneuve in the West Indies. He returned with 
the Combined Fleet, and so found himself at Cadiz 
on the eve of great events. 

Whether, indeed, Rear- Admiral Magon might 
not have proved a better man than his chief for 
Napoleon's purposes during the campaign before 
Trafalgar, is a question. "From my own know- 
ledge of Magon, with whom I had been brought 
into relation in various missions," says De Segur, 
Napoleon's aide-de-camp, "I believe with Laur- 
iston, that had he been in Villeneuve's place, the 
orders of the Emperor would have been obeyed, 
the invasion probably effected, and the face of the 
world altered." Magon, continues De Segur, 
was " a daring and impetuous fellow," and had 
been so angered over the result of the encounter 
with Admiral Calder (off Cape Finisterre in the 
previous July, which led to Villeneuve's retirement 
to Cadiz), that he quite forgot his position and 
gave, before everybody on his own quarter-deck, an 
amazing display of insubordination. " I have it 
from Lauriston, afterwards a marshal and peer of 


France, then aide-de-camp to Napoleon, who was 
in Villeneuve's fleet," relates De Segur further, 
" that on the day after this battle, Rear- Admiral 
Magon was a prey to such violent indignation 
when the first signal was given by the admiral to 
let the English Fleet go, that he stamped and 
foamed at the mouth, and that whilst he was 
furiously pacing his own ship, as that of the 
admiral passed in its retreat, he gave vent to 
furious exclamations, and flung at him in his rage 
whatever happened to be at hand, including his 
field-glass and even his wig, both of which fell 
into the sea ; but Villeneuve was not only too far 
off for these missiles to reach him, but was entirely 
out of hearing." Magon had a touch of reckless- 
ness which Villeneuve's more placid temperament 
lacked, that possibly might have shaped things 
somewhat differently up to a certain point. What 
the ultimate issue would have been is quite another 
matter with Nelson at large, and tough old 
Cornwallis ready for all comers off Ushant. 

Of the French captains, " Va de Bon Cceur " 
Cosmao was as good a man as any in the French 
Navy. " Va de Bon Cceur" was his men's name for 
the cheery commander of the " Pluton," who, as 
the senior captain, led Admiral Villeneuve's main 
battle-squadron. A burly, sturdy Breton, "avec 
le physique de son emploi," and with seamanship 
in every detail at his finger-tips, was Cosmao- 
Kerjulien,' " 1'habile et intrepide Cosmao." Begin- 



To face p. 74 



ning life by running away to sea at the age of 
twelve, before he was twenty he had been in 
action, it was said, a dozen times. Cosmao it was 
who had carried out the attack on Diamond Rock, 
Martinique, in the pre- 
vious May; and in the 
fight with Calder he had 
won credit for two brave 
efforts to rescue the 
Spanish ships that were 
lost, after which he did 
actually save a third ship, 
the French "Atlas," from 
sharing their fate. An- 
other fine fellow, who 
knew his business, was 
Infernet, of the " Intre- 
pide." He also had seen 
his first war service in the 
Old Navy of the Monar- 
chy, and in one battle, as 
a boy " mousse " (powder 
monkey), had undergone 
the somewhat unusual 
experience of being blown 
up with his ship. Infernet was in the " Cesar " in 
Rodney's battle. Dropping clear of the ring of 
sharks that beset the burning vessel, 1 the young 


1 See " Famous Fighters of the Fleet, ' Rodney's Ship on Rodney's 
Day/ " pp. 153-7. 


Infernet was taken out of the water by an 
English boat, and so had lived to fight on 
another day. That is one account. According to 
a second, he swam off just as the ship blew up. 
A Proven9al by birth, he was a near relative of 
the famous Marshal Massena, "the spoilt child 
of victory," of whom in earlier years he had seen 
a good deal, and whom he was said to resemble in 
appearance and his rough-and-ready ways. Two 
other men that Admiral Villeneuve could rely on 
in an emergency, were Captains Gourrege of the 
"Aigle" and Maistral of the "Neptune." The 
former was a rough-and-ready old Breton mer- 
cantile skipper, one of those brought into the 
French Navy at the Revolution in place of emigre 
officers of the old regime, to command on the 
quarter-deck in the " National " marine. Maistral, 
on the other hand, like Villeneuve, Magon, and 
Cosmao, had been once a dashing young wearer 
of the Bleu de Roi, and like them also had been 
half a score of times under fire before he was out 
of his teens. Captain Lucas of the "Redoutable" 
was a painstaking and determined officer of humble 
origin, with a service experience that went back to 
the days of the Bailli de Suffren. Capable men, 
too, for fighting work were Hubert of the " In- 
domptable " and Baudoin of the " Fougueux." 1 

1 A considerable number of the French officers who fought at 
Trafalgar are represented by direct descendants or collaterally in the 
French Navy of to-day. There are four Villeneuves, one of whom 


This is what is on record about those to whom 
was entrusted the honour of the Spanish flag. In 
the Spanish Navy no officer's reputation stood 
higher than that of Don Federico Gravina, a 
courtly Caballero of Old Spain, a grandee of the 
First Class, with the right to put his hat on in 
the Presence Chamber of the Catholic King. He 
was a man of forty-nine, and had been a sailor 
since he was twelve. Gravina's experiences of 
war service went back to the days of the great 
siege of Gibraltar, where he had commanded one 
of the " invulnerable " battering ships in the final 
grand attack. The " San Christoval," however, 
like her consorts, proved unable to stand red-hot 
shot, and after the catastrophe Gravina was pro- 
moted from his burned-out vessel to the great 
" Santisima Trinidad," in which he was present 
at the fight between Lord Howe's " Grand Fleet " 
and the Franco-Spanish Armada off Cape Spartel 
in 1782. As second-in-command of the Spanish 
fleet that co-operated with Lord Hood's fleet in 
occupying Toulon in 1793, Gravina had received 
the special thanks of his sovereign, and through- 
out the war since then he had been in continuous 
employment in various capacities, mostly diplo- 
matic. As a naval leader his reputation stood 

was in the fleet that visited Portsmouth last summer and attended 
the Guildhall luncheon, on the way to which he paid a chivalrous 
salute to the Nelson monument. Among other officers there are 
three Dumanoirs, two Lucases, one Cosmao Kerjulien, one Hubert, 
one Infernet, all serving afloat at the present time. 


very high indeed in official circles throughout 
France and Spain. He was said to have owed 
his present command to Napoleon's suggestion. 

Vice-Admiral Alava, who held the post of 
Spanish second-in-command, had had thirty-nine 
years' service in the navy. He was in his fifty- 
second year. Like Gravina, he had seen service at 
the siege of Gibraltar, where he had command of 
a frigate, and his fame as a sea-officer stood among 
his countrymen second only to that of Gravina 
himself. The Spanish third-in-command, Rear- 
Admiral Don Baltazar Hidalgo Cisneros, an officer 
of thirty-five years' standing in the service, had 
commanded the " San Pablo " in the battle off Cape 
St. Vincent. 

To support the flag were some of Spain's best 
captains ; in particular, Churruca of the " San 
Juan Nepomuceno," a member of a noble family 
of Guipuscoa, and Galiano of the " Bahama," " in- 
clito Galiano " ; both high-spirited gentlemen of 
the best Spanish type, and highly trained officers. 
Don Cayetano Valdez, of a family that had for 
centuries given many gallant sons to the Spanish 
Marine, commanded the " Neptuno." He entered 
the navy as " guardia marina," at the age of thir- 
teen, and had served afloat almost continuously 
ever since. Like " Va de Bon Coeur " Cosmao in 
the French Fleet, no officer was more personally 
popular on the Spanish side than Valdez ; for one 
incident of his career in particular, which all Spain 



had heard of. No Spaniard could forget how 
Valdez, in the battle off Cape St. Vincent, in his 
ship, the " Pelayo," had gone to the rescue of the 
great "Santisima Trinidad," when in extreme peril. 
" Salvemos al Trinidad 6 perez- 
camos todos ! " were the words 
with which Valdez addressed his 
men as the " Pelayo " headed 
round to succour the " Glory of 
Spain " ; to which his brave fellows 
responded with a thundering shout 
of "Viva el Rey!" 1 Valdez was 
a young man for a captain under 
thirty-five. Alcedo of the " Mon- 
tanez " and Pareja of the " Argo- 
nauta," the last-named officer, like 
Valdez, belonging to one of the 
most distinguished naval families 
of Old Spain, 2 and the two flag- 
captains Don Antonio Escano, 
Admiral Gravina's right - hand 
man in the "Principe de As- 
turias," and Don Jose Gardoqui 
of the " Santa Ana," Alava's flag- 
captain were also highly trained 
men, of mark in the Spanish Navy 
for services rendered in action. 

1 A picture of the exploit was specially painted for the King of 
Spain. It is now in the naval gallery at Madrid. 

2 He was a descendant of Philip IV's admiral, Don Adrian Pulido 
Pareja, whose portrait by Velasquez is one of the glories of our 
National Gallery. 




One of Gravina's captains was an Irishman, born 
in Ireland of Irish parents, Don Enrique (Henry) 
Macdonell, in command of the three-decker 
" Rayo." Leaving Ireland as a boy of sixteen, at 
the time of the European coalition against Great 
Britain during the American War, in order to 
take arms against England, Macdonell had first 
held a commission in the Regimiento de Hibernia, 
then at the siege of Gibraltar, a corps originally 
raised from Jacobite refugees to Spain three- 
quarters of a century before. Tiring of the 
barrack-square after the war, he got himself trans- 
ferred to the Spanish Navy, from which he had 
retired as a captain some time previously. Hear- 
ing of Gravina's plight for officers, Commodore 
Macdonell volunteered his services, and so he came 
to be in command on board the " Rayo." 

Among the officers of lower rank in the Spanish 
Trafalgar fleet were to be found representatives of 
many a family that, in the days when Spain was 
in her prime, had done something towards making 
history a Bobadilla, a Castanos, a Francis Xavier 
de Ulloa, a Medina Sidonia, a Pedro Nunez, besides 
Calderons, and Sotomayers and Mendozas, and a 
Manuel Diaz. 



AT six on the morning of the 19th the " Bucen- 
* taure " ran up the signal, " Make sail and 

The weather was perfect, brilliantly fine ; but 
the wind was light, and having to move out in 
sailing-ship fashion, one vessel at a time, made the 
process of getting the whole fleet clear a lengthy 
one. Cadiz harbour was not an easy place to get 
out of, owing to the cross-currents, certain reefs, 
and the set of the tides. Not many years before 
it had taken a smarter French fleet than the 
present one, and comprising fewer ships, three 
whole days to get to sea. By midday, indeed, 
only nine of Villeneuve's ships were outside ; and 
after that the wind died away to almost a dead 
calm. That in itself was not an auspicious open- 
ing for the Combined Fleet. They could see 
meanwhile the British look-out frigates, busily 
signalling the news along the chain of ships that 
stretched away across the horizon to the main 
British Fleet out of sight. The ships that got out 

o 81 


stood along the coast to northward for a short 
distance, and then dropped anchor to wait for the 

All could see what the British frigates were 
doing ; and all were well aware of what it meant. 

Within two hours of the opening move by the 
Combined Fleet on Saturday morning, it was 
known in Nelson's fleet, fifty miles away. At six 
that morning the ships at Cadiz were first observed 
hoisting topsails, and the British look-out ships 
closed in nearer. Then they were seen unmooring 
and beginning to drift down towards the open sea. 1 
Blackwood, the captain of the "Euryalus," in 
command of the frigates, waited to assure himself 
that the move was general. That made clear, the 
signal -flags, which had been lying on deck, bent 
to the halyards, went swiftly up. They made 
"No. 390" in the signal-book: meaning "The 
enemy's ships are coming out of port." The 
message was passed to the main fleet along the 
line of " repeating " ships which for the past three 
weeks had been cruising to windward, waiting for 
that moment. One beyond the other they stretched 
away across the horizon to westward, each ship 

1 " The morning of the 19th of October," says Midshipman Hercules 
Robinson of the " Euryalus," " saw us so close to Cadiz as to see the 
ripple of the beach and catch the morning fragrance which came out 
of the land, and then as the sun rose over the Trocadero with what joy 
we saw the fleet inside let fall and hoist their topsails and one after 
another slowly emerge from the harbour mouth/' 


keeping just within signalling distance from mast- 
head to masthead of the next to her ; all together 
linking Blackwood to Nelson as by a chain or line 
of telegraph posts. The message was sent off at 
twenty minutes past seven : it was received on 
board the " Victory " before half-past nine. 

At eleven the " Euryalus " signalled to the fleet: 
" Nineteen under sail. All the rest have topyards 
hoisted except Spanish rear-admiral and one line- 
of-battle ship." Following on that the message was 
sent : " Little wind in harbour, two of the enemy 
are at anchor." At noon Blackwood signalled : 
" Notwithstanding little wind, Enemy persevere to 
get outward, the rest except one line ready yards 
hoisted." Just before two Blackwood signalled 
again, "Enemy persevering to work outward. 
Seven of line already without and two frigates." 

Captain Blackwood himself, during the forenoon, 
sat down in his cabin and wrote a letter to his wife, 
or, rather, began it, for he had not time then to 
pen more than the opening sentences 

" What think you, my own dearest love ? At 
this moment the enemy are coming out and as if 
determined to have a fair fight ; all night they 
have been making signals, and morning showed 
them to be getting under sail. They have 34 sail 
of the Line, and five frigates. Lord Nelson has 
but 27 sail of the Line with him, the rest are 
at Gibraltar getting water. Not that he has not 
enough to bring them to close action, but I want 


him to have so many as to make this the most 
decisive battle that was ever fought, and which 
may bring us lasting peace, and all its blessings. 
Within two hours, though our fleet was sixteen 
leagues off, I have let Lord Nelson know of their 
coming out, and have been enabled to send a 
vessel to Gibraltar, which will bring Admiral 
Louis and the ships there. At this moment 
(happy sight ! ) we are within four miles of the 
enemy, and talking to Lord Nelson by means of 
Sir H. Popham's signals, though so distant, but 
reached along by the rest of the frigates of the 
squadron. You see, dearest, I have time to write to 
you and to assure you that to the latest moment of 
my breath, I shall be as much attached to you as 
man can be. It is odd how I have been dreaming 
all night of carrying home despatches. God send 
me such good luck ! The day is fine, and the sight 
magnificently beautiful. I expect before this hour 
to-morrow to carry General Decres on board the 
Victory in my barge, which I have just painted 
nicely for him." 1 

Every effort was made during Saturday evening 
and the first part of the night to tow or warp as 

1 According to the London newspapers, brought by one of the last- 
joined ships, the Minister of Marine himself, who was well known to be 
a hard fighting officer, had superseded Admiral Villeneuve. So, too, 
apparently, Nelson thought. " I would give a good deal," he had said, 
a day or two before, "for a copy of the French Admiral's orders. 
Report says it is Decres, as he fought the ' Guillaume Tell ' well." 


[From the last portrait of him e\-er made at Merton, September sth, 1805, 
nine days before he left England] 

To face p. 84 


many as possible of the ships in Cadiz harbour 
down towards the sea, so as to catch the early 
morning breeze off the land when it came. In that 
they were successful. Towards morning on the 
20th Sunday the breeze freshened, coming 
briskly from the south-east. Taking advantage 
of it, Admiral Villeneuve was able to work his 
entire fleet out, with the result that all were at sea 
and under sail by noon. 

Crowds of people watched the departure ; lining 
the walls of Cadiz at every point whence a view of 
the harbour might be obtained. Every church in 
the city was thronged all day with anxious wor- 
shippers, fathers and mothers and sisters, most of 
them in tears. At the Iglesia del Carmen, in 
particular, the old mariners' church of Cadiz, the 
crowds were so great that the people had to be 
admitted in relays. Archbishop Utrera himself, 
"Dignisimo Obispo de Cadiz y Alege9iras" pleaded 
with Heaven all day for the safety of their dear 
ones on board ship, on his knees before the High 
Altar of the Oratorio de San Felipe Neri. 

Fortune at the outset seemed to favour the 
Combined Fleet. Hardly had they got clear 
of the bay when the wind veered to the south- 
west, blowing right into the harbour, and the 
weather came on thick and squally, with drizzling 
rain. Admiral Villeneuve, being now fairly at sea, 
signalled for the fleet to tack to the southward 
and form in five columns, line ahead. Towards 


four in the afternoon the weather cleared up and 
the wind veered again to the north-west. It was, 
however, very light, and the progress of the fleet 
was in consequence very slow. The Combined 
Fleet was now in the two separate divisions 
designated in Villeneuve's " Line of Battle." The 
larger division, consisting of twenty-one sail of 
the line, formed the Corps de bataille under Ad- 
miral Villeneuve's direct supervision. It was sub- 
divided into three squadrons of seven ships each, 
of which the centre was led by Villeneuve himself, 
the van by Vice- Admiral Alava, and the rear by 
Rear-Admiral Dumanoir. The second division, 
the Squadron of Observation, or Corps de reserve, 
was in two squadrons of six ships each ; the first 
under the orders of Admiral Gravina, the second 
under Rear- Admiral Magon. 

As the Combined Fleet came out during Sun- 
day forenoon, its composition and numbers were 
reported to Nelson by the watching frigates. Ville- 
neuve, owing to circumstances, was not so well 

Nothing was seen of the main British Fleet ; 
nothing whatever, beyond two of those ever- 
present frigates on the horizon, the consorts of 
the " Euryalus " Nelson's watch -dogs. They 
were chased, but they merely moved off else- 
where and maintained their watch as before. 
Admiral Villeneuve only got his first reliable 
news of the strength of the British Fleet about 


eight o'clock on Sunday evening, when the 
"Argus," a brig, came alongside the "Bucen- 
taure" with a message from Gravina that the 
"Achille" had just reported eighteen sail of the 
line away to the south -south -west. That was 
just as Villeneuve was sitting down in the cabin 
of the " Bucentaure " to finish a despatch to the 
Minister of Marine in Paris begun in the fore- 
noon. "They have signalled to me," he wrote, 
" that eighteen of the enemy are in sight. ... In 
leaving port I have only consulted my anxious 
desire to conform to the wishes of His Majesty, 
and to do everything in my power to remove that 
feeling of dissatisfaction with which he has re- 
garded the events of my previous cruise." ["Je 
n'ai consulte dans ce depart, que le desir ardent 
de me conformer aux intentions de Sa Majeste 
et de faire tous mes efforts pour detruire les 
mecontentments dont elle a etc penetree des evene- 
ments de la derniere campagne."] He was just 
ending his despatch and other letters, to be sent 
into Cadiz that night, when, between eight and 
nine o'clock, one of his frigates, the " Themis," 
brought in the report that, as far as could be 
made out, the enemy numbered twenty sail. 

With nightfall, as it would seem, a general feel- 
ing of unrest and anxiety, almost, indeed, of 
nervousness, set in throughout the Combined 
Fleet. That they were being kept closely under 
observation, in spite of the darkness, all were but 


too well aware. For the past two hours, ever 
since it became dark, they had both heard and 
seen signals, "we cannot understand," as Ville- 
neuve put it. They were the signals of the British 
look-out ships. " Lights," says a French officer, 
"were continuously seen at various points of the 
horizon. They were the signals of the English 
Fleet and the look-out ships that felt the way for 
them. The reports of cannon, repeated from time 
to time, and blue lights casting a bright and sud- 
den glare in the midst of profound darkness, were 
soon added to the earlier signals, and convinced 
Admiral Villeneuve that he would vainly attempt 
to conceal his course from his active foes." 

Then came a sudden alarm. A little after nine 
o'clock Admiral Gravina, who, with the " Squadron 
of Observation," was ahead of the battle-squadron, 
suddenly flashed a signal that the enemy were "less 
than two miles off." It seemed impossible. Surely 
there was an error in signalling? Admiral Ville- 
neuve could hardly credit it ; but at the same time, 
Nelson's night attack at the Nile, his own "souvenir 
d'Aboukir," came to mind. To meet the emergency 
he made the general signal for the whole fleet to 
form in line of battle at once, without regard to 
the stations of individual ships. The two wind- 
ward columns of the battle squadron were to drop 
to leeward and form on the third column. At the 
same time the Squadron of Observation would form 
up ahead of the line. A few seconds later the 



signal lamps of the " Bucentaure " again flashed 
out. It was the order, "General Quarters!" or, 
" Clear for action ! " " Branle-bas-de-combat ! " as 
the French Navy called it replied to on board 
each ship by the drums striking up the sharp rantan 


of the Generate, with its opening ruffle, "Prend 
ton sac ! Prend ton sac ! Prend ton sac ! " as the 
French put words to the tune. 

Forming line in the dark, however, was not an 
easy task, and it was not effected satisfactorily. 
As one French captain said, there was a good deal 
too much noise and hailing, while the ships 
groped about here and there, trying to keep clear 
of one another and find a berth for themselves. 


An admirable personal narrative of Sunday's 
doings, with some incidents that passed in the 
Combined Fleet on the night before the battle, 
was sent to Admiral Decres at the Ministry of 
Marine by one of the French captains, Lucas of 
the " Redoutable." "On the 28th Vendemiaire 
An XIV (20th October, 1805) 1 the Combined Fleet 
got under sail to leave Cadiz Bay. The wind was 
southerly; light at first, afterwards fresh. The fleet 
comprised thirty-three sail of the Line, of which 
eighteen were French, fifteen Spanish ; with five 
frigates and two brigs, French. We were hardly 
outside when the wind shifted to the south-west and 
came on to blow strong. The admiral then ordered 
the fleet to reef sail, which was done, though 
some of the Spanish ships were so slow over it that 
they fell considerably to leeward. Some time was 
lost by that, but at length all worked back again, 
and then the fleet stood on, in no regular for- 
mation, heading to the west-north-west. The 
Redoutable was next astern to the Bucentaure, 
and a short distance off, when, towards noon, the 
flagship suddenly signalled ' Man overboard ! ' I 
brought to at once, lowered a boat, picked the man 
up, and regained my station. 

" An hour after midday the wind shifted to the 

1 The last day of December, 1805 (10th Nivose An XIV), saw the 
last of the Revolution Calendar, invented by Fabre d'Eglantiue and 
Gilbert Romme. By order of Napoleon the Gregorian Calendar was 
restored on and after the 1st of January, 180C. 


west, and the fleet went about all together. As 
soon as that was done, the Bucentaure signalled 
for the battle-squadron to form in three columns 
on the starboard tack, flagships in the centre of 
their divisions. In this order of sailing the 
Redoutable, as leader (chef de file) of the first 
division, should have been at the head of her 
column, and I manoeuvred the ship to take that 
post. 1 All the afternoon, however, was spent 
without the fleet being able to get into the forma- 
tion designated, although the admiral kept signal- 
ling repeatedly to ships to take station. 

"Towards seven in the evening the wind went 
down a little ; but the sea was still rough, with a 
swell setting in from the south-west. The fleet 
was now steering to the south-south-west. I 
signalled at this time to the admiral that I could 
make out a fleet or squadron of the enemy to 
windward. They did not, to me, seem very far 
off. The ships of this squadron, as the evening 
went on, made a great many signals, showing for 
their purpose quite a remarkable display of coloured 

" About nine o'clock at night the flagship made 

1 According to the squadronal division of the French Fleet, the 
' ' Redoutable " belonged to Admiral Villeueuve's own group, which 
comprised the "Bucentaure," "Neptune," "Redoutable," "Indomp- 
table," and ' ' Heros." Dumanoir's group comprised the " Formidable," 
" Scipion," "Intrepide," "Duguay Trouin," and "Mont Blanc." 
Magon's group was formed of the " Algeciras," " Achille," " Argo- 
nauta," "Aigle," and "Fougueux,"' the fastest of the French ships; 
with the " Pluton," " Swiftsure," and " Berwick " added. 


the general signal to the fleet to form in the order 
of battle at once (prompt ement], without regard to 
the stations of individual ships. To carry out this 
evolution those ships most to leeward ought to 
have shown a light at each masthead, so as to 
mark their positions. Whether this was done I do 
not know: at any rate I was unable to see such 
lights. At that moment, indeed, we were all 
widely scattered. The ships of the battle squadron 
and those of the squadron of observation were all 
mixed up. Another cause of confusion was this. 
Nearly all the ships had answered the admiral's 
signals with flares, which made it impossible to tell 
which was the flagship. All I could do was to 
follow the motions of other ships near me which 
were closing on some to leeward. 

" Towards eleven I discovered myself close to 
Admiral Gravina, who, with four or five ships, was 
beginning to form his own line of battle. I was 
challenged and our name demanded, whereupon 
the Spanish admiral ordered me to take post in his 
line. I asked leave to lead it and he assented, 
whereupon I stood into station. The wind was 
in direction and force as before, and we were all 
still on the starboard tack. 

" The whole fleet was at this time cleared for 
action, in accordance with orders signalled from 
the Bucentaure earlier in the night. In the 
Redoutable we had, however, cleared for action 
immediately after leaving Cadiz, and everything 


had been kept since in readiness to go to quarters 
instantly. With the certainty of a battle next 
day, I retained but few men on deck during the 
night. I sent the greater number of the officers 
and crew to lie down, so that they might be as 
fresh as possible for the approaching fight." 

A report from Admiral Gravina's flagship also 
describes the doings of Sunday and Sunday night. 
" On the morning of the 19th some of the French 
and Spanish set sail in obedience to the signal 
made by Admiral Villeneuve. In consequence, 
however, of the wind shifting to the S.E., we 
could not all succeed in doing so until the 20th, 
when the wind got round again to the E.S.E. 
Scarcely was the Combined Fleet clear of the 
harbour mouth, when the wind came to S.S.E., 
blowing so strongly, and with such a threaten- 
ing appearance, that one of the first signals 
made by the Bucentaur, the flagship of Admiral 
Villeneuve, was to set double-reefed topsails. 
This change of wind also necessarily caused 
a considerable dispersal of the fleet, until two 
o'clock in the afternoon. Then, fortunately, 
the wind veered to the S.E., and the horizon be- 
coming clear and unobscured, signal was made to 
form five columns, and afterwards for all to close. 
An advanced frigate signalled eighteen sail of the 
enemy in sight, in consequence of which news 
we cleared for Action, and sailed in fighting order. 
At three we all tacked and stood for the Straits, 


still preserving the same disposition of five 
Columns in which we had been before the last 
evolution. After having so done, we descried 
four of the Enemy's Frigates, to which, by order of 
Admiral Villeneuve, we gave chase. Signal was 
made, at the same time, from our ship, for the 
Achille, Alge9iras, and San Juan, attached to 
the ' Squadron of Observation,' to reinforce the 
ships sent in chase. They had orders to rejoin the 
main body of the Fleet before nightfall. At half- 
past six o'clock a French ship informed us that 
they had made out eighteen of the enemy, all in 
line of battle ; and shortly afterwards we ourselves 
began to observe, at no great distance, gleams of 
light. They could only be from the enemy's 
frigates, which were stationed midway between 
the two fleets. At nine o'clock the English 
squadron made signals by firing guns, and, from 
the interval which elapsed between the flash and 
report, they must have been about two miles from 
us. We informed the French Admiral by signal- 
lanterns that it was expedient to lose no time in 
forming line of battle on the leeward ships, on 
which an order to that effect was immediately 
given by the Commander-in-Chief. In this situa- 
tion we beheld the dawn of the 21st, with the 
Enemy in sight, consisting of twenty-eight Ships 
eight of which were three-deckers all to wind- 
ward of us, and in Line of Battle on the opposite 


On the British side, all through that Sunday 
night, Blackwood in the " Euryalus," with Nelson's 
frigate squadron and two or three men-of-war 
from the main fleet, kept watch on the enemy 
hour after hour ; sailing at about half-gunshot dis- 
tance from them most of the time, and to wind- 
ward. The task was one that the enemy's lights, 
showing " like a well lit up street " six miles long, 
rendered not difficult ; although at times some of 
the British ships got rather close. This is from a 
British officer in one of the watching ships. " Our 
situation on board the ' Defence ' during the 
whole night after the enemy had come without 
their harbour, was both critical and interesting. 
The absence of the moon, and the cloudy state of 
the weather, rendered it exceedingly dark, so that 
we came very near the Combined Fleet without 
their being able to discern us. While we con- 
cealed every light, they continued to exhibit such 
profusions of theirs, and to make night signals in 
such abundance, that we seemed at times in the 
jaws of a mighty host ready to swallow us up. 
We, however, felt no alarm, being confident that 
we could fight our way or fly, as occasion required. 
The former was certainly more congenial to all our 
feelings: yet, in the face of the enemy's whole fleet, 
we did not regret that our ship was a fast sailer." 

On board the " Euryalus ' n they had the con- 

1 There could hardly perhaps have been an apter name for Black- 
wood's dashing frigate on the present occasion than that she bore, 


sciousness of duty well done. They had done 
all that was possible ; they could leave the rest to 
the course of events. " For two days," said Mid- 
shipman Hercules Robinson, of the " Euryalus," 
"there was not a movement that we did not 
communicate, till I thought that Blackwood who 
gave the orders, and Bruce our signal mid, and 
Soper our signalman, who executed them, must 
have died of it ; and when we had brought the 
two fleets fairly together, we took our place 
between the two lines of lights, as a cab might 
in Regent Street, the watch was called, and 
Blackwood turned in quietly to wait for the 

commemorating as it did the gallant " Dardan Boy " of the days of 
old King Priam and the ten years' war of Troy : 

" To watch the movements of the Daunian host, 
With him ' ' Euryalus '' sustains the post : 
No lovelier mien adorn'd the ranks of Troy, 
And beardless bloom yet graced the gallant boy ; 
Though few the seasons of his youthful life, 
As yet a novice in the martial strife, 
'Twas his, with beauty, valour's gifts to share, 
A soul heroic as his form was fair." 

The parallel may be pressed yet closer home. No smarter or more 
handsome British frigate, perhaps, ever sailed the seas than Captain 
Blackwood's " flyer," the " Euryalus," now, too, with her first fight 
in front of her ; nor was it long since that bright June Monday 
morning when the pride of Buckler's Hard slid down the ways to the 
sound of cheering and merry music into the placid waters of the 
Beaulieu River, carrying with her the best workmanship that old 
Henry Adams' Hampshire "maties" could put into the beautiful 



ON the side of the Combined Fleet, the morning 
opened with the warning signal from the 
frigate "Hermione" at half -past six: "The 
enemy in sight to windward." Admiral Villeneuve 
replied by ordering the frigates to reconnoitre and 
report the enemy's numbers. 

At seven o'clock the French admiral repeated 
his signals of the previous night : to form line 
of battle on the starboard tack, and " Branle-bas- 
de-combat ! " " Clear for action ! " On that, we 
are told, the drums again struck up the rappel 
and beat the Generate throughout the fleet ; the 
captains on board most of the ships, when all had 
been reported clear, going round the decks and 
through the batteries, each attended by his first 
lieutenant and suite, and preceded by the drums and 
fifes, to be enthusiastically greeted with shouts and 
cheers of " Vive 1'Empereur ! " " Vive 1'Armee ! " 
" Vive le Commandant ! " The sight of the 
enemy, indeed, it is related, had a marvellous 
effect on the spirits of everybody throughout the 

H 97 


Combined Fleet. All the dull depression that 
had hung like a nightmare so heavily over almost 
everybody since the battle with Admiral Calder, 
cleared off and vanished. A marked exaltation 
of spirits took its place, with universal activity 
and eagerness to come to close quarters with the 

They were, we know, equally jubilant in the 
British Fleet. One officer writes how " the joyful 
acclamations of the watch on deck . . . announced 
that we were near the enemy, who were in line 
under easy sail a few miles to leeward." " As the 
day dawned," says another, " the horizon appeared 
covered with ships. The whole force of the enemy 
was discovered standing to the southward, distant 
about nine miles, between us and the coast near 
Trafalgar. I was awakened by the cheers of the 
crew and by their rushing up the hatchways to get 
a glimpse of the hostile fleet. The delight mani- 
fested exceeded anything I ever witnessed ; sur- 
passing even those gratulations when our native 
cliffs are descried after a long period of distant 

Between ten minutes and a quarter past seven 
the " Hermione " made her second signal : " The 
enemy number twenty-seven sail of the line." 

That was followed, at twenty minutes past seven, 
by an order from Admiral Villeneuve for the fleet 


to close up to a cable's interval between ships. 
The Squadron of Observation were making every 
effort to get in station. The leading ship of all 
was now Admiral Gravina's flagship, the "Principe 
de Asturias." 

Then, once more, Admiral Villeneuve changed 
his plans. At eight o'clock he ran up a signal for 
the whole fleet to go about, ship by ship, each 
wearing in her station. This would bring them 
in line on the port tack. In the very light breeze 
it was plainly impossible to reach the Straits of 
Gibraltar without a battle; and, as a matter of 
prudence, whichever way things might go, with 
stormy weather also approaching, Villeneuve con- 
sidered it advisable to have Cadiz harbour under 
the lee for ships crippled in action to find a ready 

Reversing the order of the fleet, however, proved 
hard work. What with the light wind and strong 
ground swell, the unskilfulness of some of the officers 
and want of sea-training among the men, it took over 
two hours before anything in the nature of a line 
could be re-formed. It was long past ten o'clock, 
indeed, before an order of battle had been arrived 
at, and then the new line was very irregular. Here 
there were clumps of ships crowded together two 
or three deep, and more or less abreast of one 
another ; there, wide gaps with one or two ships 
straggling across. The whole array sagged away 
to leeward in the centre, in a deep curve or 
crescent formation. 


A number of ships were out of station ; either 
ahead or abreast of the consorts they should 
have been sailing close astern of. Between the 
" Neptuno," which now led the van, and the 
" He'ros," there were nine ships crowded together ; 
although five would, with ordinary intervals, have 
been quite sufficient to fill the space. The 
"He'ros," "Santisima Trinidad," and "Bucen- 
taure," which followed, were in their proper places 
and kept good station. The two next ships in 
order, the "Neptune" (French) and "San Leandro," 
were out of their places and to leeward. Then 
came the " Redoutable," which at the last pushed 
up on her own account to " second " the " Bucen- 
taure." Again there was a gap ; the " San Justo " 
and " Indomptable " were out of their places and 
to leeward. From the "Santa Ana" to the 
"Argonauta," the next four kept a good line. 
Then again, the " Montanez " and the " Argo- 
nauta " were out of station and to leeward. The 
five ships astern of all, if somewhat to leeward of 
their proper places, kept a fair line ; except the 
" Achille," which had got crowded quite out and 
sailed nearly abreast of the " San Ildefonso." 
Admiral Gravina, in his flagship the " Principe de 
Asturias," was in rear of all. 

Now it was that a serious false move on the 
enemy's side was made. "The squadron of 
Gravina, which, as a squadron of observation, 


ought to have kept its station to the windward of 
the line, where it would have covered the centre. 
Instead it moved to the rear to prolong the line, 
without having been signalled to do so." 1 Ap- 
parently Gravina had independent authority in 
some degree, as he acted on his own initiative. 
Also, he paid no heed, later in the morning, 
to a signal from Admiral Villeneuve desiring 
him to get into his allotted station. Says Flag- 
Captain Prigny in his official report, "At 11.30, 
the breeze being light, a signal was made to 
the Squadron of Observation (Gravina), which 
was then in the rear, and was bearing away to 
take station in the wake of the fleet, to keep 
its luff, in order to be able to proceed to re- 
inforce the centre of the line against the attack 
of the enemy who was bearing down on it in two 

Gravina's move upset the Commander-in-Chief 's 
plan of action, in which the presence of a compact 
and powerful force to windward of the general 
line at the outset, had been an essential feature. 
To that end some of the smartest ships in the 
Combined Fleet had been placed under Gravina's 
orders. It deprived Villeneuve of the means he 
had provided for making a counter move which 
might have, at least, made success more costly to 
the victors. 

1 Report of the Court of Inquiry on Admiral Dumanoir. 



The frigates were to leeward, distributed along 
the line to repeat signals : the " Hortense," abreast 
of the " Bucentaure " ; the "Themis," abreast of 
Gravina ; the " Rhin," abreast of the " Santa 
Ana"; and the "Corneille" and " Hermione," 
abreast respectively of Rear- Admirals Dumanoir 
and Magon. 

This, from all accounts, was the order that the 
Combined Fleet had assumed, and in which it 
found itself when firing began. Little was left 
now, as will be seen, of the original "Line of 
Battle " that Admiral Villeneuve elaborated before 
he quitted Cadiz. 


1. Neptuno 

2. Scipion 

3. Intrepide . 

4. Formidable 

5. Rayo . 

6. Duguay-Trouin 

7. Mont Blanc 

8. San Francisco 


9. San Agustino 

10. Heros 

11. Santisima . 


12. Bucentaure 

13. Neptune 

14. Redoutable 

15. San Leandro 

16. San Justo . 

17. Indomptable 

18. Santa Ana . 




\ Spanish 


. French 

' \ Spanish 

. French 

. Spanish 


. French 
. Spanish 










19- Fougueux . 


20. Monarca 

. Spanish 

21. Pluton 

. French 

22. Alge9iras 

23. Bahama 

. Spanish 

24. Aigle . 

. French 

25. Swiftsure . 


26. Argonaute . 

27. Montanez . 

. Spanish 

28. Argonauta . 


29. Berwick 

. French 



. 74 

. 74 

. 74 

. 74 

. 74 

. 74 

. 74 

. 74 

. 74 

. 80 

. 74 

30. San Juan Nepo-1 c . , . 

> Spanish . . 74 

31. San Ildefonso . ... 74 

32. Achilla . . French . . 74 

33. Principe de As-j g h ng 


Throughout the morning both Villeneuve and 
Gravina kept signalling incessantly to various 
ships to get into station, and in the result at the 
actual moment of opening fire things had improved 
somewhat. The van, by carrying more sail, had 
taken open order, and the ships elsewhere had 
distributed themselves somewhat more evenly ; but 
the line was still far from being regularly formed. 
In the centre, there remained to the last a wide 
gap astern of the " Bucentaure " ; some five of the 
ships that should have been between the flagship 
and the " Santa Ana " were out of station and to 
leeward. 1 

1 An officer of one of Nelson's ships, the " Conqueror/' gives us 
incidentally a clear view of the tactical disposition of the enemy's 


Admiral Villeneuve, for his part, fully realized 
what Nelson's advance in two columns meant to a 

fleet, as it appeared to lookers-on from the British side ; suggesting at 
the same time how it came about. 

"The Combined Fleet, after veering from the starboard to the 
larboard tack, gradually fell into the form of an irregular crescent, in 
\vhich they remained to the moment of attack. Many have considered 
that the French Admiral intended this formation of the line of battle ; 
but from the information I obtained after the action, connected with 
some documents found on board the ' Bucentaure,' I believe it was the 
intention to have formed a line ahead, consisting of twenty-one sail, 
the supposed force of the British Fleet ; and a squadron of observation, 
composed of twelve sail of the line, under Admiral Gravina, intended 
to act according to circumstances after the British Fleet were engaged. 
By waring together, the enemy's line became inverted, and the light 
squadron, jvhich had been advanced in the van on the starboard tack, 
was left in the rear after waring, and the ships were subsequently 
mingled with the rear of the main body. The wind being light, with 
a heavy swell, and the fleet lying with their main topsails to the mast, 
it was impossible for the ships to preserve their exact stations in the 
line, consequently scarce any ship was immediately ahead or astern of 
her second. The fleet had then the appearance, generally, of having 
formed in two lines, thus : 

so that the ships to leeward seemed to be opposite the space left be- 
tween two in the weather-line. In the rear the line was in some places 
trebled. . . . All these positions I believe to have been merely acci- 
dental, and to accident alone I attribute the concave circle of the fleet, 
or crescent line of battle. The wind shifted to the westward as the 
morning advanced ; and, of course, the enemy's ships came up with the 
wind, forming a bow-and-quarter line. The ships were therefore 
obliged to edge away to keep in the wake of their leaders, and this 
manosuvre, from the lightness of the wind, the unmanageable state 
of the ships in a heavy swell, and, we may add, the inexperience of 
the enemy, not being performed with facility and dexterity, un- 
designedly threw the combined fleets into a position perhaps the best 
that could have been planned had it been supported by the skilful 
manoeuvring of individual ships and with efficient practice in gunnery.'' 


fleet situated and arranged as his : but in the cir- 
cumstances he could do little beyond awaiting 
attack. The French admiral, when a prisoner on 
board the " Euryalus " three or four days after the 
battle, said, in conversation with Captain Black- 
wood, " he never saw anything like the irresistible 
line of our ships. That of the 'Victory,' sup- 
ported by the ' Neptune ' and ' Temeraire,' was 
what he could not have formed any judgment of." 1 

The British Fleet came on, approximately in 
this order: advancing in two separate divisions, 
or columns, about a mile apart. They were head- 
ing: Nelson's column for about the tenth or twelfth 
ship from the van of the Combined Fleet; Colling- 
wood's column almost directly for the centre. 

Ships. Guns. Commanders. 

{Vice-Admiral Lord Viscount 
Captain T. M. Hardy. 

Temeraire . . 98 Eliab Harvey. 

Neptune 2 98 T. F. Fremantle. 

Leviathan 74 H. W. Bayntun. 

1 The French have ever since paid to Nelson's mode of attack 
at Trafalgar the highest tribute. "On y lit la defaite presque in- 
evitable de toute flotte qui n'opposera a cette attaque d'un genre 
riouveau que les moyens de defense ordinaires. En considerant 1'etat 
de la science navale a cette epoque, on ne peut guere s'empecher 
de penser, avec les Anglais, que cette attaque etait irresistible." 

2 There were three " Neptunes " at Trafalgar : a British 98-gun 
ship, a French 80, and a Spanish 74, and their several fates ex- 
emplified the fortune of the day. The last was taken, the second fled, 
the first remained among the victors of the " stricken field " ; bearing 
out, moreover, the point of the lines from Virgil that the master 
carver of Deptford Dockyard so an old newspaper paragraph relates 


Names. Guns. Commanders. 

Conqueror . . 74 Israel Pellew. 

(Rear -Admiral the Earl of 
Capt. Chas. Bullen. 

Agamemnon . . 64 Sir Edward Berry. 
Ajax . 74 Lieut. J. Pilfold (acting). 

Orion . 74 Edw. Codrington. 

Minotaur . 74 C. J. M. Mansfield. 

Spartiate . . 74 Sir F. Laforey, Bart. 

Africa . 64 Henry Digby. 


r, i o ( Vice-Admiral Collingwood. 

Royal Sovereign 100 | ^ Rotherham S 

Belleisle . . 74 William Hargood. 

Mars . 74 George Duff. 

Tonnant . . 80 Charles Tyler. 

Bellerophon . . 74 John Cooke. 

Colossus. . 74 J. N. Morris. 

Achille . 74 Richard King. 

Dreadnought . . 98 J. Conn. 

Polyphemus . . 64 Robert Redmill. 

Revenge . . 74 R. Moorsom. 

Swiftsure 74 W. G. Rutherford. 

Defiance . . 74 P. C. Durham. 

Thunderer . . 74 Lieut. J. Stockham (acting). 

Defence . . 74 George Hope. 

Prince . 98 R. Grindall. 

cut beneath the effigy of the God of the Sea which the British 
" Neptune " at Trafalgar bore for figure-head : 

Non illi imperium pelagi, sasvumque tridentem, 
Sed mihi sorte datum. 

The fate of the three " Neptunes " is also recorded in this verse from 
a letter written home after the battle by a sailor on board one of the 
British men-of-war : 

The British ' ' Neptune," as of yore, 

Proved master of the day ; 
The Spanish "Neptune '* is no more, 
The French one ran away. 

There were also two " Swiftsures " and two "Achilles " in the battle. 

ftuiiicn, of the British. Flat at HAyltgh an 1ht u "of Octfi 

2"*rbJitwn at 9 o' Clock. 

. or u e dock atK/m 


[The original, signed by Villeneuve's Flag-Captain Magendie, as answering for the 
general disposition of the Combined Fleet at the outset of the battle, was found 
among the papers of Lord Barham, First Lord of the Admiralty in November, 1805, 
by Professor J. K. Laughton, R.N., who considers the position assigned to part at 
least of the British Fleet, as "impossible. 1 Compare Magendie's own map, sent to 
the Ministry of Marine in Paris : Appendix C. ] 


Ranged along the two lines, to repeat signals 
and assist crippled ships, were the British frigates 
and small craft. 

Ships. Guns. Commanders. 

Euryalus . . 36 Hon. H. Blackwood. 

Sirius . 36 William Prowse. 

Phoebe . . 36 Hon. T. B. Capel. 

Naiad 38 T. Dundas. 

Pickle . . 8 Lieut. J. R. Lapenotiere. 

Entreprenante . 12 Lieut. R. B. Young. 

The van of Lord Nelson's line was the stx^onger 
of the two. It comprised the three three-deckers, 
" Victory," " Te'meraire," and " Neptune" ; with the 
old " Britannia," a first-rate, coming up a little 
astern of them. Collingwood, leading in the 
" Royal Sovereign," had only two-deckers at hand 
to support him ; although the three first of these, 
the " Belleisle," " Mars," and " Tonnant " were ex- 
ceptionally powerful ships. There were two three- 
deckers in the British lee column, the "Dread- 
nought" and the "Prince," both 98's; but both 
were some way back. The " Prince," indeed, was 
last ship of the whole fleet ; at the extreme rear 
of Collingwood's line. 

Nelson had designedly concentrated his heavier 
ships in the van of his own line, the better to 
assist Collingwood by threatening and holding 
the enemy's van in check and preventing it, when 
the British main attack was delivered by the lee 
line, from doubling back to reinforce the centre 
and rear. 


A British officer, Midshipman Badcock, of the 
British " Neptune," afterwards wrote down his 
recollection of the scene as the fleets neared. 
" It was a beautiful sight," he says, " when their 
line was completed, their broadsides turned to- 
wards us, showing their iron teeth, and now and 
then trying the range of a shot to ascertain the 
distance, that they might, the moment we came 
within point blank (about six hundred yards), open 
their fire upon our van ships, no doubt with the 
hope of dismasting some of our leading vessels 
before they could close and break their line. Some 
of the enemy's ships were painted like ourselves, 
with double yellow sides, some with a broad single 
red or yellow streak, others all black, and the 
noble * Santissima Trinidada ' (138) with four 
distinct lines of red, with a white ribbon between 
them, made her seem to be a superb man-of-war, 
which, indeed, she was. Her appearance was 
imposing, her head splendidly ornamented with 
a colossal group of figures, painted white, re- 
presenting the Holy Trinity from which she took 
her name." Vice-Admiral Alava's flagship, the 
three-decker " Santa Ana," had an immense effigy 
of the mother of the Virgin, garbed in red, for 
her figure-head. As a badge of her nationality, 
every French ship bore on her stern a lozenge- 
shaped escutcheon, painted in three horizontal 
bands of blue, white, and red. As in the British 
Fleet, so in the Combined Fleet, several of the 


captains went into battle with extra colours lashed 
in the rigging, in addition to ship's ensign at the 
gaff. " Va de Bon Cceur " Cosmao of the " Pluton," 
and Valdez of the "Neptuno," had each, we are 
told, three colours flying. 

Here is Admiral Villeneuve's account of events 
on that morning [Compte Rendu: Appendix B]: 

"We sighted the enemy, as soon as it was 
daylight, to the west, to the number of thirty- 
three sail in all, and about two leagues and a half 
off. Cape Trafalgar was made at the same time : 
to the east-south-east, about four leagues off. I 
signalled to the frigates to reconnoitre the enemy 
and to the fleet to form line of battle on the 
starboard tack, officers in command leading their 
divisions. Admiral Gravina simultaneously sig- 
nalled to the Squadron of Observation to take post 
in line at the head of the Combined Fleet. The 
wind was very light from the west, with a heavy 
swell on. 

" The enemy's fleet, which was counted as 
twenty-seven ships of .the line, seemed to be head- 
ing en masse for my rear squadron ; with the double 
object, apparently, of engaging in greatly superior 
force and on cutting the Combined Fleet off from 
Cadiz. I therefore signalled for the fleet to wear 
all together, and form line of battle in the reverse 
order. My main idea was to secure the rear 
squadron from being overpowered by the enemy's 


attack in force. Through this new disposition the 
third squadron, under Rear- Admiral Dumanoir, 
became the advance guard, with the Neptune, 
commanded by Don Gaetano Valdez, as squadron 
leader. I myself was in the centre of the fleet, in 
the Bucentaure, and Vice- Admiral Alava followed 
me with the second squadron. The Squadron of 
Observation, under the orders of Admiral Gravina, 
formed the rear guard, with, as second-in-com- 
mand, Rear- Admiral Magon in the Alge^iras. 

" The enemy continued to steer for us under all 
sail, and at nine o'clock I was able to make out 
that their fleet was formed in two columns, of 
which one was heading directly for my flagship 
and the other towards the rear of the Combined 
Fleet. The wind was very light, the sea with 
a swell on, owing to which our formation in line 
was rendered very difficult to effect ; but in the 
circumstances, considering the nature of the attack 
that I foresaw the enemy were about to make, the 
irregularity of our order did not seem a dis- 
advantage, if each ship could have continued to 
keep to the wind, and close upon the ship next 
ahead. [" Notre formation s'effectuait avec beau- 
coup de peine ; mais dans le genre d'attaque que 
je prevoyais que 1'ennemi allait nous faire, cette 
irregularite meme dans notre ligne ne me paraissait 
pas un inconvenient."] 

" I made a signal to the leading ships to keep 
as close as possible to the wind and to make all 


sail possible. At eleven o'clock I signalled to the 
rear squadron to keep closer to the wind and 
support the centre, which appeared to be the point 
on which the enemy now appeared to be directing 
his main attack. The enemy meanwhile came 
steadily on, though the wind was very light. 
They had their most powerful ships at the head of 
the columns. That to the north had four three- 

We have also this from the report on the doings 
of his ship at Trafalgar forwarded by Captain 
Lucas of the "Redoutable" to the Ministry of 
Marine : 

"On the 29th Vendemiaire, at daybreak, the 
enemy were sighted to windward ; that is to the 
west-south-west or south-west. The wind was 
very light and there was still a heavy sea running. 
The Combined Fleet was spread out from south- 
east to north-west ; the ships being much scattered, 
and not forming any apparent order. The enemy 
also were not in any order, but their ships were 
fast manoeuvring to close. Their force was now 
reconnoitred and reported exactly. It comprised 
twenty-seven sail of the line, of which seven were 
three-deckers, besides four frigates and a schooner. 

" About seven in the morning the admiral again 
signalled for the whole fleet to form in line of 
battle ' dans 1'ordre naturel ' ; flag-officers at the 
head of their divisions, on the starboard tack. I 


then left the place I had been in for the latter part 
of the night and put about to rejoin the chief and 
take post in the station assigned me in the line of 
battle. I was, though, some distance from it, and 
it was half-past eight before I succeeded in placing 
my ship in her station. 

"By nine o'clock the enemy had formed up in two 
columns (pclotons). They were under all sail they 
even had studding sails out and heading directly 
for our fleet, before a light breeze from the west- 
south-west. Admiral Villeneuve, being of the 
opinion, apparently, that they were intending to 
make an attack on our rear, tacked the fleet all 
together. In this new order the Redoutable's 
place was third ship astern of the flagship Bucen- 
taure. I at once made every effort to take 
station in the wake of the flagship, leaving be- 
tween her and myself the space necessary for my 
two immediate leaders. One of them was not 
very far out of its station, but the other showed 
no signs of trying to take post. That ship was at 
some distance to leeward of the line, which was 
now beginning to form ahead of the admiral. 

" Towards eleven o'clock the two columns of the 
enemy were drawing near us. One was led by a 
three-decker, the Royal Sovereign, and headed 
towards our present rear squadron. The other, 
led by the Victory and the Temeraire, was 
manoeuvring as if to attack our centre, the Corps 
de bataille." 



AT half-past eleven Admiral Villeneuve ran up 
-* the general signal, " No. 242 : Open Fire ! " 
Three-quarters of an hour later, the " Bucentaure " 
hoisted at the fore yet another signal, reiterating, 
in effect, what Villeneuve had enjoined on his 
captains at Cadiz : " Tout capitaine qui n'est pas 
dans le feu n'est pas a son poste 1 " 

As the first shot went off it was fired by the 
"Fougueux" (next astern of the "Santa Ana") and 
aimed at the " Royal Sovereign," then a little more 
than a quarter of a mile distant, the Combined 
Fleet hoisted their colours in unison " the drums 
and fifes playing and the soldiers presenting arms." 
Every Spanish ship, in addition, showed a large 
wooden cross, swung from the boom-end over the 
taffrail. The crosses had been solemnly blessed by 
the various padres, or chaplains, on board ship, and 
were meant as " feti9as " to ward off disaster from 
the vessels. 

"At a quarter past eleven," says the captain 
of the Redoutable (whose watch seems to have 



been slow), "the ships of our rear division 
began firing on the Royal Sovereign. That ship 
in reply fired at us also, but from too far off, and I 
did not fire back. I was all the time following in the 
wake of the commander-in-chief, but there was 
still a wide gap between him and myself which 
had not been filled by the two ships that ought to 
have been ahead of me. One of the two was now 
too far to leeward to be able to take her post. The 
other, which, I have already said, was not far off and 
was coming up, turned aside to fire at the Royal 
Sovereign, which had come nearly within half gun- 
shot range of her. The column led by Admiral 
Nelson was nearing our Corps de bataille, and the 
two three-deckers that headed the British were 
manoeuvring with the evident intention of isolating 
and doubling on the French admiral's flagship. 

" One of the two was making to pass close astern 
of the Bucentaure. I soon saw that, and being 
now convinced that my two immediate leaders 
were not going to take up their allotted posts, I 
pushed on ahead and closed on the flagship, so 
as, in effect, to keep the Redoutable's bowsprit 
almost touching the taffrail of the Bucentaure. 
I made up my mind to sacrifice my ship, if neces- 
sary, in defence of the flagship. So also I told my 
officers and men, who answered me with shouts 
and cheers, repeated over and over again. 'Vive 
1'Empereur ! ' * Vive 1'Amiral ! ' ' Vive le Command- 
ant 1 ' Preceded by the drums and fifes, I then 


went, accompanied by the officers of my personal 
suite, round the decks and batteries throughout 
the ship. Everywhere I found my brave fellows 
burning with impatience to begin. Many, as I 
passed along called out to me : ' Commandant, 
n'oubliez pas 1'abordage ! ' (' Captain, don't forget 
to board ! ')" 

A French admiral (Jurien de la Graviere) is 
responsible for the following extraordinary story 
of Admiral Villeneuve on board the " Bucentaure " 
at the outset of the battle. Describing the group- 
ing of the French and Spanish ships round the 
admiral at the moment that Nelson was nearing 
the line, he says 

"The Redoutable's bowsprit had touched several 
times the taffrail of the Bucentaure, so close 
was she. The Santisima Trinidad was almost 
lying to, just ahead of the Bucentaure. The 
Neptune was closed up near by to leeward, 
A collision (with the Victory as she came on) 
appeared inevitable. At that moment Villeneuve 
seized the eagle of his ship l and displayed it to the 
sailors who surrounded him. 'My friends,' he 
called out, * I am going to throw this on board the 
English ship. We will go and fetch it back or die!' 

1 " Tous les vaisseaux/' says M. Brun in his " Guerres Maritimes 
de France,' 3 " etaient gratifies d'une aigle et d'un drapeau a leur nom, 
donnes par 1'Empereur a son couronnement, ou avaient assiste et prete 
serment des deputations du port et de 1'armee navale : chaque vaisseau 
avait envoye sa deputation, composee de trois officiers, trois officiers 
mariniers et quatre gabiers ou matelots." Although what became of 


('Mes amis, je vais la Jeter a bord du vaisseau 
anglais. Nous irons la reprendre ou mourir ! ') Our 
seamen responded to these noble words by their 

" Full of hope for the issue of a combat fought 
hand to hand, Villeneuve, before the smoke of 
battle blotted out the Bucentaure from the view 
of the fleet, made a last signal to his ships. 
' Every ship,' he signalled, ' which is not in action 
is not at its post, and must take station to bring 
herself as speedily as possible under fire.' ('Tout 
vaisseau qui ne combat point, n'est pas a son poste, 
et doit prendre une position quelconque le reporte 
le plus promptement au feu.') His role of admiral 
was finished. It only remained for him to show 
himself personally the bravest of his captains." 

the Eagle of the ff Bucentaure " is unknown, and no eagle belonging 
to a ship of war was ever taken by us, one is still in existence. It 
is in the Museo Naval at Madrid, and belonged to the " Atlas," a 
French 74 left by Villeneuve at Ferrol. It was captured in 1808 when 
Spain rose against Napoleon and seized all the French men-of-war 
then sheltering in Spanish ports. 


riTHE general course of events at Trafalgar makes 
-*- up a tale that is common knowledge. There 
is no need to do more than outline here how 
things shaped themselves. 

The long straggling array of the Combined 
Fleet extending, when the battle opened, over 
five miles of sea from end to end broke up, before 
the close of the first hour's fighting, into three 
separate clusters or groups of ships. 

The largest group of the three comprised the 
flagship " Santa Ana " and most of the ships 
astern of the point at which Collingwood broke 
through, away to Gravina in the " Principe," the 
rearmost ship of all. They were attacked at 
several points almost simultaneously ; the ships of 
Collingwood's division for the most part heading 
for them en echelon, or slantwise, " in line of bear- 
ing." Gravina's blunder earlier in the day in quit- 
ting his station to windward and tailing on the 
Squadron of Observation in wake of the battle 
squadron, made things easier for some of Colling- 



wood's ships than perhaps they might have been. 
As has been said, it deprived Admiral Villeneuve 
of the mobile division that he had proposed to 
keep as an emergency force, or for a counter 

A considerable gap separated the " Santa Ana " 
from the centre group to northward, the ships 
next ahead of Alava. There, a small body of 
ships were fighting at bay, outnumbered and 
isolated from the rest of the Combined Fleet. 
The " Bucentaure " herself, and the " Santisima 
Trinidad," were among them, with the "Re- 
doutable," the French " Neptune," and the " Fou- 
gueux," which moved up from the rear group to 
join them some little time after the battle had 
begun. Cut off from their consorts on either 
hand, and roughly handled by the leading ships of 
Nelson's column, as these, coming up close astern 
of one another, attacked them in succession, the 
fate of the centre group was only a question of 
time. The van squadron, meanwhile, had made 
no sign at all of coming round to the rescue of 
their sorely pressed admiral. 

The ten ships of Admiral Dumanoir's division 
were still standing stolidly ahead, having as yet 
hardly fired a shot. Nearly three-quarters of a 
mile of clear sea separated the rearmost ship of 
these, the " Hros," from the stubbornly resisting 
" Santisima Trinidad " and " Bucentaure." Head- 
ing slowly northward, Admiral Dumanoir's group 


drew away farther and farther, and increased the 
gap, ignoring the signal to turn back that the 
" Bucentaure " made as the battle was opening, 
and the frigate " Hermione " repeated on Admiral 
Villeneuve's behalf. 

What that inaction meant, and its result, has 
been set forth with admirable lucidity by a French 
officer of the present time, the most distinguished 
French naval historian of our day. 

"At 12.10 p.m.," says Captain Chevalier "the 
Royal Sovereign passed through the line astern of 
the Santa Ana. A little later the Bucentaure and 
the Santisima Trinidad opened fire on the Victory. 
At that time it was impossible to be under any 
misapprehension concerning the mode of attack 
adopted by the enemy. At 12.30, just as the 
Victory passed astern of the Bucentaure, Admiral 
Villeneuve ordered every ship which was not 
engaged to get into action. It must be supposed 
that Admiral Dumanoir Le Pelley did not con- 
sider this signal to be addressed to the ships he 
commanded, as he made no movement in response. 
Admiral Villeneuve, however, took no notice of 
his inaction. By not making a fresh signal, direct- 
ing the van to get into action instantly, Admiral 
Villeneuve appeared to approve of the conduct of 
his subordinate. At the same time the rear- 
admiral, by intimating at one o'clock that the van 
had no opponents to engage, plainly showed that 


he had no intention of taking the initiative in any 
step that might alter the original disposition of 
the fleet. Instead of acting on his own account, 
he asked for orders. Vice- Admiral Villeneuve did 
not give him any: or rather, he gave them too late. 
It was not until 1.50 that the Bucentaure signalled 
to the van to go about and get into action. 1 By 
that time the centre was no longer able to offer 
any serious resistance to the enemy. It was, there- 
fore, quite too late. 

"This, of course, does not exculpate Admiral 
Dumanoir. On the contrary, one has to look 
the more closely into the nature of the responsi- 
bility which rested on him. What, in fact, is to 
be said of the behaviour of the leader of the van 
who, when the fate of the action was hanging in 
the balance, waited so long for orders to do 
what he knew was a matter of urgency ? Those 
orders also he himself asked for. Rear- Admiral 
Dumanoir, undoubtedly, committed a serious error 
in not leading the division he commanded, on his 
own responsibility, to the assistance of the 
Bucentaure, as soon as that ship was seen to be 

"It would seem as if a fatality clung to the 
movements of our van. When, after having been 

1 " L'armee navale Frar^aise, combattant au vent ou sous le vent, 
ordre aux vaisseaux, qui, par leur position actuelle ne combattent pas, 
d'en prendre une quelconque, qui les reporte le plus promptement 
au feu." 


too long inactive, it did turn towards the scene of 
the fighting, it split up. As a compact force, it 
might have done something ; as a divided one, it 
actually invited the blows of the foe. If Rear- 
Admiral Dumanoir had been followed by the 
whole of the van squadron, it is quite conceivable 
that he might have fallen upon the ships which 
surrounded the Bucentaure and the Santisima 
Trinidad. Ten ships which had as yet been 
scarcely engaged, suddenly coming on the scene 
at the centre of action, if they could not, perhaps, 
have changed the issue of the day, must certainly 
have inflicted severe losses on the enemy ; yet, as 
a fact, we lost the San Agustin, the Neptuno, and 
the Intrepide, as one result of the move. Also, 
these three ships were captured separately. The 
two last-named covered themselves with glory, no 
doubt, but it is to be regretted all the more that 
gallant officers like Captains Valdez and Infernet 
did not understand the necessity for the ships of 
the van to keep together. Such a result could 
only have been secured by following Rear- Admiral 

" * I had good right,' wrote the commander of 
the van division, * to complain in my despatch of 
having been followed in the Formidable by three 
ships only. The Intrepide, while putting about in 
answer to the signal, fell on board the Mont Blanc, 
and tore out that ship's foremast. She then, to- 
gether with four other ships, kept away, running 


with the wind on the quarter to join the vessels of 
the Combined Fleet to leeward ; but, as she sailed 
very badly, it was not long before she was over- 
hauled by the enemy, after which she made that 
splendid defence of which Captain Infernet is 
entitled to feel proud. As for the Neptuno, Cap- 
tain Valdez, she was the leading ship of the fleet, 
and was to windward. After having put about, 
she remained to windward ; kept away ; came to 
the wind again ; manoeuvring throughout with the 
greatest lack of decision. Finally, but very late 
in the day, she made up her mind to follow me. I 
was well past the Admiral (the Bucentaure) when 
she fell into my wake. Up to that moment she 
had kept her luff, having never drawn as close to 
the enemy as we did.' With only four ships," 
says Captain Chevalier, " Dumanoir did not dare 
to bear up towards the foe." 

He turned away and stood off to the westward, 
between four and five in the afternoon ; about the 
same time that Gravina, having rallied what other 
ships were left fighting here and there, eleven in 
all, also quitted the scene of battle, making for 

Once battle was joined, every British ship as 
she came up closed the first of the enemy she 
came across and engaged yard-arm to yard-arm, to 
fight it out "entour de feu et de fum^e." The ships 
of Nelson's own column, for the most part follow- 


ing in the track of the " Victory " at the outset, 
found their work to hand in dealing with the 
"Bucentaure" and "Santisima Trinidad" and certain 
other ships in that quarter. After that they moved 
northward and brought to action the ships of the 
van division of the Combined Fleet which first 
turned back into the battle. Collingwood's ships, 
attacking more or less in a slantwise formation, 
broke through the straggling centre and rear 
divisions of the Combined Fleet, to all intents 
simultaneously. [See the Captain of the Bucen- 
taure's plan of the attack : Appendix C.] The 
majority attacked the first of the enemy that they 
came alongside, and after a brisk set-to, ship to 
ship, passed on, leaving consorts near by or astern 
to continue the fighting. In this way most of the 
ships of the Combined Fleet found themselves 
either beset by an overpowering force from the 
first, or faced in rapid succession by a series of 
antagonists, with equally disastrous results. 

" The mode of attack adopted with such success 
in the Trafalgar action," wrote a British officer 
who saw the battle from the quarter-deck of the 
" Conqueror," " appears to me to have succeeded 
from the enthusiasm inspired throughout the 
British Fleet ; from their being commanded by 
their beloved Nelson ; from the gallant conduct of 
the leaders of the two divisions ; from the indi- 
vidual exertions of each ship after the attack com- 
menced, and the superior practice of the guns in 


the English Fleet. It was successful also from 
the consternation spread through the combined 
fleet on finding the British so much stronger than 
was expected ; from the astonishing and rapid de- 
struction which followed the attack of the leaders, 
witnessed by the whole of the hostile fleets, inspir- 
ing the one and dispiriting the other, and from the 
loss of the Admiral's ship early in the action." 
Said a Spanish letter from the Combined Fleet 

Eogfeh. Extli-h. 


From a contemporary MS. official report, among the Egerton Papers at the 
British Museum 

as to the trend of events after the opening 
attacks by the " Royal Sovereign " and the " Vic- 
tory": "The other Ships of both the Enemy's 
Columns kept deploying upon the Combined 
Fleet, whose line was broken by the dismasting of 
some Vessels, the flight and the shipwreck of 
others ; so that the Action was no longer a general 
one, but a succession of single fights." l 

1 Egerton MSS. 382, f. 23. Translated in Sir N. H. Nicolas' 
" Despatches and Letters of Lord Nelson," vol. VII, p. 288. 


This time-table shows approximately how the 
fortune of the day went from hour to hour on 
the side of the Combined Fleet. As will be seen, 
the battle had been practically decided by a little 
after three o'clock. 

12.10. " Fougueux " fired first shot. 

12.20. Collingwood broke the enemy's line. 

12.40. Nelson broke through. 

1.20. Nelson wounded. 

1.30. " Redoutable " surrendered. 

1.50. " Fougueux " boarded and taken. 

Between 2 and 3 o'clock the following ships 
struck their colours ; 

" Bucentaure " (Admiral Villeneuve's flagship). 
" Santa Ana " (Admiral Alava's flagship). 
" Santisima Trinidad " (Rear-Admiral Cisneros). 
" Algebras" (Rear- Admiral Magon's flagship 

boarded and taken). 
" San Juan Nepomuceno " (Commodore Chur- 


" Bahama " (Commodore Galiano). 
" Monarca." 
" Aigle." 
Fr. " Swiftsure." 

Thus within three hours of Collingwood's opening 
of the attack, eleven of the enemy out of thirty- 
three had surrendered a third of the Combined 


Between 3.15 and 4.30 these surrendered : 

" Argonauta." 

" San Agustin." 

" San Ildefonso." 

" Berwick." 

" Achille " was on fire and had ceased resistance. 

Before 4.30, when Nelson died, eleven of the 
enemy had run out of the battle and were in full 
flight for Cadiz under Admiral Gravina. Four 
others, under Rear- Admiral Dumanoir, were out 
of range and standing to westward to escape. 

At five o'clock, or a few minutes afterwards, the 
last two of the enemy to make a stand, surrendered. 

" Intrepide " (Captain Infernet). 

" Neptuno " (Commodore Valdez). 

What happened on board individual ships on 
the enemy's side, as related by some of those who 
went through the day at Trafalgar ; how most of 
them faced their fate gallantly for the honour of 
their flag, and yielded only when further resistance 
was hopeless : is now to be told. 


-* patch to the Minister of Marine in Paris was 
written while the French Commander -in -Chief 
was a prisoner of war on board the British frigate 
"Euryalus," on the 15th of November. It was 
forwarded after his arrival in England. 

An expression of extreme regret at the position 
in which the French admiral found himself opens 
the narrative. Then, after outlining the events of 
Sunday the 30th of October, after the Combined 
Fleet was at sea, and the earlier events of Monday 
morning, it proceeds to relate what happened 
during the battle within Admiral Villeneuve's 
personal knowledge. [The text of Villeneuve's 
" Compte Rendu " forms Appendix B.] 

"At midday I signalled to the fleet to begin 
firing as soon as the enemy was within range and 
at a quarter past twelve the opening shots were 
fired by the Fougueux and the Santa Ana at 
the Royal Sovereign, which led the enemy's star- 
board column, with the flag of Admiral Colling- 
wood. The firing broke off for a brief interval, 



after which it reopened fiercely from all the ships 
within range. It could not, however, prevent the 
enemy from breaking the line astern of the Santa 

" The port column, led by the Victory, with the 
flag of Admiral Nelson, came on in much the same 
way. She appeared as if she was aiming to break 
the line between the Santisima Trinidad and the 
bows of the Bucentaure. Whether, however, 
they found our line too well closed up at that 
point, or from some other reason, when they were 
almost within half pistol-shot while we, for our 
part, prepared to board and had our grappling-irons 
ready for throwing they swung off to starboard 
and passed astern of the Bucentaure. The Re- 
doutable had the station of the Neptune, which had 
fallen to leeward, and she heroically fulfilled the 
duties of the second astern to the flagship. She 
ran on board the Victory, but the lightness of 
the wind had not prevented the Victory passing 
close under the stern of the Bucentaure and 
firing into us as she passed several treble-shotted 
broadsides, with effects that were murderous and 
destructive. 1 At that moment I made the signal, 
' All ships not engaged owing to their stations, 
are to get into action as soon as possible ! ' It was 

1 " It was Lord Nelson's intention," says a letter from the British 
Fleet, ' ' to have begun the action by passing ahead of the Bucentaure 
(Villeneuve's ship), that the Victory might be ahead of her and astern 
of the Santissima Triuidada. But the Bucentaure shooting ahead, his 
lordship was obliged to go under her stern, raked her, and luffed up 



impossible for me to see how things were going in 
the centre and rear of the fleet because of the 
dense smoke which enveloped us. 

" To the Victory succeeded two others of the 
enemy, three-deckers, and several seventy-fours. 
These one after the other came up and filed by, 
slowly past the stern of the Bucentaure. I had 
just made the signal to the van to put about when 
the main and mizen masts both came down. The 
English ships which had passed through astern 
of us were attacking us from leeward, but, un- 
fortunately, without suffering any serious loss in 
return from our batteries. The greater part of our 
guns were already dismounted and others were 
disabled or masked by the fall of the masts and 
rigging. Now, for one moment, the smoke-fog 
cleared and I saw that all the centre and rear had 
given way. I found, also, that my flagship was 
the most to windward of all. Our foremast was 
still standing, however. It offered a means for 
our making sail to get to leeward to join a group 
of ships at a little distance which did not seem 
much damaged : but immediately afterwards the 
foremast came down like the others. I had had 
my barge kept ready, so that in the event of the 
Bucentaure being dismasted, I might be able to 

on her starboard side. The Bucentaure fired four broadsides at the 
Victory before his lordship ordered the ports to be opened, when the 
whole broadside, which was double-shotted, was fired into her, and 
the discharge made such a tremendous crash that the Bucentaure was 
seen to heel." 


go on board some other ship, and rehoist my 
flag there. When the mainmast came down I 
gave orders for it to be cleared for launching, 
but it was found to be unserviceable, damaged 
irreparably, either from shot or crushed in the fall 
of the masts. 1 Then I had the Santisima Trini- 
dad hailed she was just ahead of us and asked 
them either to send a boat or take us in tow. 
But there was no answer to the hail. The 
Trinidad at that moment was hotly engaged. 
A three-decker was attacking her on the quarter 
astern, and another enemy was on the beam 
to leeward. Being now without any means of 
repelling my antagonists, the whole of the upper 
deck and the twenty-four-pounder batteries on the 
main deck having had to be abandoned, heaped 
up with dead and wounded, with the ship isolated 
in the midst of the enemy and unable to move, 
I had to yield to my destiny. It remained only to 
stop further bloodshed. That, already immense, 
could only have been in vain. 2 

1 " The admiral," said Flag-Captain Prigny, in his official report to 
Decres, "on being told that the boat he had had prepared to take him 
in case of emergency to another ship, had been crushed under the 
wreckage, complained bitterly that Fate had spared his life ; that amid 
the slaughter all round there seemed not to be one bullet for him." 
Says a British naval officer of the day : " Villeneuve's conduct in this 
action . . . has been acknowledged by all present to have been 
that of a distinguished sea officer ; and the state of the ( Bucentaure ' 
showed that he had no consideration for his own person." (Captain 
Brenton : "Naval History," vol. II, p. 73.) 

2 Captain Magendie of the "Bucentaure" states, in an official 
report to the Minister of Marine, that all the men at the upper-deck 
guns were either killed or wounded ; the 24-pounder battery was 


"All the fleet astern of the Bucentaure was, 
as I have said, broken up. Many ships were dis- 
masted ; others were still fighting, in retreat to- 
wards a body of ships to the east. Some of 
Rear- Admiral Dumanoir's squadron attempted to 
rally on the vessels to leeward, while five others 
kept to windward and exchanged shots with the 
enemy in passing, but only at long range. The 
rearmost of the five, I believe the Neptuno, a 
Spanish ship, which was a little to leeward of the 
others, had to surrender. 

" From the nature of the attack that the enemy 
delivered there could not help resulting a pele-mele 
battle, and the series of ship-to-ship actions that 
ensued were fought out with the most noble de- 
votion. The enemy had the advantage of us, owing 
to his powerful ships, seven of which were three- 
deckers, the smallest mounting 114 guns (sic), in 
weight of metal of his heavy guns and carronades ; 
and in the smartness with which his ships were 
handled, due to three years' experience at sea a 
form of training which, of course, had been im- 
possible for the Combined Fleet. The courage and 
the devotion to France and the Emperor, shown 
by the officers and men, could not be surpassed. 
It had evinced itself on our first putting to sea, 

"entirely dismounted and heaped up with dead and wounded. " The 
whole starboard side of the ship on the upper deck was, he said, 
"blocked with wreckage from aloft so that it was impossible to fire 
again." Surrender, Magendie said, was imperative, to avoid the use- 
less sacrifice of the survivors. [Report to Decres 6 e Bruin. An 14.] 


and also in preparing for battle, by the cheers 
and shouts of ' Vive 1'Empereur ! ' with which the 
flagship's signals were received. I did not see a 
single man blench at the sight of the enemy's for- 
midable column of attack, headed by four three- 
deckers, which came down on the Bucentaure. 

" I have no doubt, Monseigneur, that you have 
already received accounts of the instances of valour 
and devotion that were displayed elsewhere, from 
other officers who have found themselves in a 
position to forward them. So much courage and 
devotion merited a better fate, but the moment 
has not yet come for France to celebrate successes 
on sea as she has been able to do with regard to 
her victories on the Continent. As for myself, 
Monseigneur, overwhelmed by the extent of my 
misfortune and the responsibility for so great a 
disaster, I desire only, and as soon as possible, to 
offer at the feet of His Majesty either the justifi- 
cation of my conduct, or a victim to be sacrificed, 
not to the honour of the flag, which I venture to 
affirm has remained intact, but to the shades of 
those who may have perished through my impru- 
dence, want of caution, or forgetfulness of certain 
of my duties." 


Admiral Villeneuve added in a postscript that 
he, with Captain Magendie, Adjutant-Commandant 
Contamine, a lieutenant and a midshipman A.D.C., 
were the officers on board the " Euryalus." Captain 
Magendie, Chef d'Etat- Major (Flag - Captain) 
Prigny, and two lieutenants of the " Bucentaure," 
he added, were wounded. Almost every officer and 
man, indeed, on the quarter-deck of the " Bucen- 
taure," said Villeneuve, had been either killed or 

It may be noted that Admiral Villeneuve did 
not mention the fact that he himself had been 
wounded. It was not serious, but he said nothing 
about it, and it is not noted in the " Bucentaure's " 
official list of casualties. The flagship's total 
casualty list was two hundred and nine of all ranks 
and ratings hors de combat (a hundred and thirty- 
eight killed), a heavier loss than any of the British 
ships experienced. 1 

Major-General de Contamine, " Commandant 
en Chef par interim," as he describes himself, adds 
these details, in the course of his military report to 
Napoleon, as to the soldiers on board the fleet : 

" It was impossible to meet the Victory as she 
came on with our broadside, because the Santisima 
Trinidad, which in the light breeze would not 
answer her helm, was to leeward of us, almost 

1 For the position of the ' ' Bucentaure " at various stages of the 
battle up to the moment of surrender, see Captain Mageudie's four 
plans (Appendix C). 


touching us. Indeed we received several broadsides 
from the enemy without power of reply. 

"The Victory, Temeraire, and Neptune, three- 
deckers, took post, one on our quarter, and the 
other two astern. They fired into us for nearly 
two hours at half pistol-shot. By 3 o'clock the 
Bucentaure had received the fire of 11 English 
ships, most of which passed by and raked us ahead 
and astern. The ship was dismasted, ' ras comme 
un ponton,' and the masts and sails fell over to 
starboard, blocking up the batteries and rendering 
it impossible to fire at a single point. Indeed it 
was impossible to move. The 24-pounder battery 
was left without a man at the guns ; only nine men 
were left on the forecastle and the poop. With 
about 400 killed and wounded, beyond reach of 
assistance or rescue, surrounded by the enemy, the 
admiral had to order the flag to be lowered." 

General De Contamine concludes his report with 
these words : " Je crois pouvoir dire que le combat 
du cap Trafalgar doit etre regarde comme celui qui 
(abstraction faite des malheurs purement acci- 
dentels qui en sont resultes) fait le plus d'honneur 
a la marine Fran9aise et Espagnole, et montre ce 
que la premiere fera un jour." 1 

1 An interesting report of the doings and fate of the " Bucentaure," 
dated Cadiz, 24th November, 1805, by Lieutenant de vaisseau Fournier 
of the e< Bucentaure '' (an ancestor of the present Admiral-in-Chief of 
the French Navy), is in existence among the archives of the Ministry 
of Marine in Paris. [Vol. BB 4 237, fol. 12.] 



AN officer on board the " Bucentaure " describes 
Mr how Admiral Villeneuve tried to get away 
and failed, and then had to order his flag to be 
hauled down in surrender. 

" By now the upper decks and gangways of the 
Bucentaure, heaped with dead and the wreckage 
from overhead, presented an appalling spectacle. All 
this time, amid all this scene of disaster, Admiral 
Villeneuve, who from the first had displayed the 
calmest courage, continued tranquilly pacing up 
and down the quarter-deck. At length he saw his 
ship totally dismasted, and no hope of succour 
coming from any quarter. With bitter sorrow he 
exclaimed, 'The Bucentaure has played her 
part ; mine is not yet over.' ' [' Le Bucentaure a 
rempli sa tache ; la mienne n'est pas encore 
acheve'e.'] He gave orders for his boat to be got 
ready at once to take him with his flag on board 
one of the ships of the van squadron. He still 
cherished the hope that he might be able, with the 
ten fresh ships of the van, to make a supreme 
effort, and even yet snatch victory from the enemy. 



But the unfortunate admiral's illusion did not 
last long. Word was soon brought him that his 
barge, which before the battle had been got ready 
against this very possibility, had early in the action 
had several holes made in it by the enemy's 
shot ; and, as a finale, had been crushed to 
pieces under a mass of fallen spars and rigging. 
Every single one of the ship's other boats had 
also been destroyed. On that they hailed from 
the Bucentaure across to the Santisima Trinidad 
for them to send a boat, but no reply was made 
and no boat was sent. Bitterly did Admiral Ville- 
neuve realize his desperate position, and the hard 
fate that was in store for him ! He saw himself 
imprisoned on board a ship that was unable to 
defend herself, and this too, while great part of his 
fleet was in action and fighting hard. He cursed 
the destiny that had spared him in the midst of 
all the slaughter round about. Compelled by 
force of circumstances to think no more about his 
fleet, he had now only to think of the ship he was 
in. All he could do now was to see after the lives 
of the handful of brave men left fighting with 
him. Humanity forbade him to allow them to be 
shot down without means of defending themselves. 
Villeneuve looked away and allowed the captain 
of the Bucentaure to lower the colours." 

No attempt was made by the " Bucentaure's " 
"repeating frigate," whose duty it was to assist 
the flagship in case of need, to go to the rescue 


of her chief and at least attempt to take the 
"Bucentaure" in tow. "Now it was for one or 
other of the French frigates to have risked the 
perils of the battle and stood in to carry a tow 
rope to the Bucentaure, in pursuance of the 
honourable duty that the admiral expected of 
his frigates. In particular was this the duty of 
the captain of the frigate Hortense, the flag- 
ship's own ' repeating frigate.' It is hard to think 
that the captain of the Hortense although he 
had already shown an excessive prudence had 
not the courage to attempt the relief of his ad- 
miral : one must look for some other motive. The 
Hortense, with the other frigates, had committed 
the blunder of posting themselves too far off from 
the fighting line, and it may have been that seeing 
it was practically impossible, in the very light 
breeze, for the Hortense to get up with the 
admiral, the captain of the Hortense did not 
attempt to do so. Impossible, however, if the 
task was, the captain of the Hortense should 
at least have tried." 

So one of the officers on board the "Bucentaure" 
said. On the other hand, the frigates were away to 
leeward, and all the smoke from the firing line 
rolled heavily down on them, blotting out all view 
of the battle. " A une heure," reported Captain 
Jugan, of the " Hermione," "le combat tant devenu 
ge'ne'ral, j'ai perdu de vue dans la fume'e tout ce 
qui s'y est passe." And, as he adds, he never got 


another clear view of the battle to the end ; only 
an occasional glimpse in a rift in the smoke of 
one or two ships here and there. 

The French flagship hauled down her colours 
to a British 74, named, by something of a coin- 
cidence, the " Conqueror." According to an ac- 
count from that ship, the " Bucentaure " had then 
her masts standing. A young officer of that 
ship, Midshipman William Hicks, describing hi 
a letter home the incidents of the closing scene, 
as witnessed from the " Conqueror's " quarter-deck, 
adds these details. He was one of Captain Pellew's 
aides-de-camp, and presumably in an excellent 
position to observe what passed. " We engaged 
her single-handed for an hour, and she struck to us ; 
after her colours were hauled down two guns from 
her starboard quarter began to play on us. Sir 
Israel Pellew, thinking that they were disposed to 
renew the fight, ordered the guns which could bear 
on her foremast to knock it away, and her masts 
were cut away successfully in a few minutes. The 
officers of the French ship waving their handker- 
chiefs in sign of surrender, we sent a cutter and 
took possession of the Bucentaure. Then we 
moved on." 

The " Conqueror's " log records the surrender in 
these words : "At 2, shot away the Bucentaure's 
main and mizen masts. . . . Shot away the Bucen- 
taure's foremast. At 2.5, the Bucentaure struck. 
Sent a boat on board her to take possession." 


An officer of the "Britannia" (Second Lieutenant 
L. B. Halloran, Royal Marines) also claims for 
his ship the credit of having made the " Bucen- 
taure " surrender. " In passing we poured a most 
destructive fire (the guns being double-shotted) 
into the Bucentaur, which ship had already re- 
ceived the first fire of the Victory and Nep- 
tune. Her masts were at once swept away, and 
her galleries and stern broken to pieces ; her colours 
being shot away, someone waved a white handker- 
chief from the remains of the larboard gallery in 
token of surrender." 

The " Conqueror's " right to the honour of the 
capture is, however, beyond dispute, and her 
cutter was sent off to take possession of the prize, 
and did so. The officer deputed by Captain Pellew 
to receive the surrender, carried out his in- 
structions in circumstances that proved intensely 

At the moment of the " Bucentaure's " submis- 
sion, Captain Pellew, as it happened, was unable 
to spare Lieutenant Couch, his first lieutenant, 
to whom, in ordinary circumstances, the duty of 
boarding the prize would have fallen. Being un- 
aware, owing to the absence of Villeneuve's flag 
from the "Bucentaure's" masthead, that the 
enemy's Commander-in-Chief had surrendered to 
him, he told off Captain James Atcherley, of the 
" Conqueror's " marines, to go in the first lieu- 
tenant's place and take possession of the vessel, 
whose name also, it would seem, they did not 


know. Captain Atcherley went off with two sea- 
men and a corporal and two marines. He was 
pulled alongside and clambered on board the big 
two-decker, little dreaming whom he was going to 
meet, and the reception in store for him. This is 
what then took place. 

As Atcherley gained the " Bucentaure's " upper 
deck and the British officer's red coat showed 
itself on the quarter-deck of the French flagship, 
four French officers of rank stepped forward, all 
bowing and presenting their swords. One was a 
tall, thin man of about forty-two, in a French 
admiral's full dress. It was Villeneuve himself. The 
second was a French captain Captain Magendie, 
in command of the " Bucentaure." The third 
was Flag-Captain Prigny, Villeneuve's right- 
hand man. The fourth was a soldier, in the 
brilliant uniform somewhat begrimed by powder- 
smoke of a brigadier of the Grand Army, 
General de Contamine, the officer in charge of the 
four thousand troops serving on board the French 
Fleet that day. 

" To whom," asked Admiral Villeneuve, in good 
English, " have I the honour of surrendering ? " 

" To Captain Pellew of the Conqueror." 

" I am glad to have struck to the fortunate Sir 
Edward Pellew." 

" It is his brother, sir," said Captain Atcherley. 

" His brother ! What ! are there two of them ? 
Helas ! " 


" Fortune de la guerre," said Captain Magendie 
with a shrug of his wide shoulders as he became a 
prisoner of war to the British Navy for the third 
time in his life. Prigny and de Contamine said 
nothing, as far as we know. 

Captain Atcherley politely suggested that the 
swords of such high officers had better be handed 
to an officer of superior rank to himself to Captain 
Pellew. He then went below to secure the maga- 
zines, passing between decks amid an awful scene 
of carnage and destruction. " The dead, thrown 
back as they fell, lay along the middle of the decks 
in heaps, and the shot, passing through these, had 
frightfully mangled the bodies. . . . More than 
four hundred had been killed and wounded, of 
whom an extraordinary proportion had lost their 
heads. A raking shot, which entered in the lower 
deck, had glanced along the beams and through the 
thickest of the people, and a French officer declared 
that this shot alone had killed or disabled nearly 
forty men." 

Atcherley locked up the magazines and put the 
keys in his pocket, posted his two marines as 
sentries at the doors of the admiral's and flag- 
captain's cabins, and then, returning on deck, he 
conducted Villeneuve, Magendie, and Flag-Captain 
Prigny down the side into his little boat, which 
rowed off in search of the " Conqueror." That 
ship, however, had ranged ahead to engage another 
enemy, and as her whereabouts could not be dis- 


covered in the smoke, the prisoners were tem- 
porarily placed on board the nearest British ship, 
which happened to be the " Mars." There Admiral 
Villeneuve's sword was received by Lieutenant 
Hennah, the senior surviving officer of the ship 
(the gallant captain of the " Mars," George Duff, 
had fallen a short time before), who sent it after 
the battle to Collingwood. 


The uppermost sword is that of Vice-Admiral Villeneuve. That in the centre is 
the sword of Rear- Admiral Cisneros of the ' ' Santisima Trinidad. " The third sword is 
that delivered personally to Collingwood by Don Francisco Riquelme of the "Santa 
Ana" on behalf of Vice- Admiral Alava. Admiral Villeneuve's sword is now on view 
at the Royal United Service Institution Museum in Whitehall, to which it has been 
loaned by its present possessor, together with the sword of Rear- Admiral Cisneros. 
The two swords were in the possession of the Collingwood family down to July, 1899, 
when they came under the hammer at Christie's, together with the sword of the 
Spanish officer who notified the surrender of the " Santa Ana." 

Collingwood met Villeneuve three days after the 
battle, when the storm had moderated sufficiently 
to permit of his being transhipped to the sur- 
viving British Commander-in-Chief's temporary 
flagship, the frigate "Euryalus." This is what 
Collingwood thought of him and wrote home : 
"Admiral Villeneuve is a well-bred man, and I 
believe a very good officer : he has nothing in his 
manner of the offensive vapouring and boasting 
which we, perhaps too often, attribute to French- 


Says Hercules Robinson of the " Euryalus " : 
" How well I remember our receiving Villeneuve 
on board the Euryalus, and the Captain of the 
Fleet, Majendie, to convey them to England. 
Villeneuve was a thinnish, tall man, a very tran- 
quil, placid, English-looking Frenchman ; he wore 
a long-tailed uniform coat, high and flat collar, 
corduroy pantaloons of a greenish colour, with 
stripes two inches wide, half-boots with sharp toes, 
and a watch-chain with long gold links. Majendie 
was a short fat jocular sailor, who found a cure for 
all ills in the Frenchman's philosophy, ' Fortune de 
guerre' (though this was the third time the god- 
dess had brought him to England as prisoner)." 

Captain Magendie was exchanged in the follow- 
ing January. He returned to France with a warm 
recommendation from Villeneuve to Decres, in 


regard to his " intelligence and capacity." He was 
appointed A.D.C. to the Minister of Marine, and 
held the post until the fall of the Empire. Two 
reports on Trafalgar by Magendie are now among 
the archives of the Ministry of Marine in Paris ; 
also two plans of the battle prepared by him for 
Decres. [See Appendix C.] 



NO more brilliant defence, no nobler fight in 
battle, perhaps, was ever made by the French, 
on sea or land, than that by the " Redoutable " at 
Trafalgar. One " crack " regiment of the Line in 
the French Army of to-day commemorates the 
bravest deed in its annals by the legend on 
its colours : " Rosny, 1814 : Un contre Huit ! " 
Another, similarly, recalls the finest feat of arms 
in its history, by the legend : " Un contre Dix : 
Gratz, 1809 ! " But the feat achieved in either of 
these cases can hardly compare with the deter- 
mined and enduring valour of the stand that the 
two-decker "Redoutable" made at Trafalgar, 
single-handed, against the two British three- 
deckers "Victory" and "Temeraire." "Le Re- 
doutable," to use the words of a distinguished 
Frenchman, "ne s'etait rendu qu'apres le combat 
peut etre le plus sanglant et le plus opiniatre de 
tous ceux qui ont honore le valeur des Fran9ais." 

Also, the personal heroism displayed by Captain 
Lucas, the captain of the ship, deserves to 

& 145 


rank with the classic instances of the gallantry 
of D'Assas, captain in the famous regiment 
" d'Auvergne," of the army of the old regime, 
whose magnificent act of self-sacrifice on the 
battlefield, the modern French cruiser " D'Assas " 
exists to recall to-day ; or the grand display of the 
" First Grenadier of France, dead on the field 
of honour " ; with even the dauntlessness of the 
"bravest of the brave," Marshal Ney himself. 

The chances of the day at Trafalgar, in one 
sense, no doubt, favoured the "Redoutable." Com- 
paratively small ship as she was, a 74 of the 
smallest class in the French Navy, she was 
one of the most efficiently officered and manned 
vessels of all under Admiral Villeneuve's orders. 
Also, as things turned out, her crew for months 
past had been trained by their captain with unre- 
mitting care for exactly the kind of fighting that 
fell to their lot at Trafalgar. So Captain Lucas 
himself has left on record : 

"After the Redoutable was commissioned," he 
described to Admiral Decr&s, "nothing was omitted 
on board to instruct the ship's company in every 
kind of exercise. My thoughts ever turned on 
boarding my enemy in any action I fought, and 
I so counted on finding my opportunity that I 
made that form of attack part of our daily ex- 
ercises, so as to ensure success when the hour 
arrived. I had canvas cartridge-cases made for 


each of the captains of the guns, to hold two 
grenades apiece ; with, attached to the shoulder- 
belts of the cartridge-cases in each case, a tube of 
tin holding a piece of quick-match. At all our 
drills on board ship I practised the men at flinging 
dummy hand-grenades made of pasteboard, to 
ensure rapidity and expertness, and while at Toulon 
also I often landed parties to practise with iron 
grenades. By that means, in the end, they had so 
acquired the art of flinging the grenades that on 
the day of battle my topmen were able to fling 
two grenades at a time. I had a hundred muskets, 
fitted with long bayonets, sent on board also. 
The picked men to whom these were served out 
were specially trained at musketry and stationed 
in the shrouds. All the men with cutlasses and 
pistols were regularly trained at sword exercise, 
and the pistol became with them a very familiar 
weapon. My men also learnt to throw grappling 
irons with such skill that we could count on being 
able to grapple an enemy's ship before her sides 
had actually touched ours. On the drums beating 
branle-bas de combat before Trafalgar, every man 
went to his post fully accoutred, and with his 
weapon loaded, and they placed them at hand by 
their guns, in racks between the gun ports. My 
ship's company, indeed, had themselves learned to 
have such confidence in the mode of fighting that 
I proposed for the Redoutable that they, several 
times before the battle, asked me, of their own 


accord, to lay the ship alongside of the first enemy 
we met." 


Two official statements detailing what passed on 
board the " Redoutable " at Trafalgar are extant 
among the archives of the Ministry of Marine in 
Paris. The earlier one was drawn up immediately 
after the surrender of the ship, while Captain 
Lucas and his surviving officers were prisoners on 
board the British " Swiftsure," and still off Cadiz. 
It is entitled : " Proces verbal de la perte du 
vaisseau de S. M. I. et R. Le Redoutable, Com- 
mande par M. Lucas, Capitaine de Vaisseau, 
Officier de la Legion d'Honneur. 

"This day, l' re de Brumaire, An XIV (the 
23rd of October), we, the undersigned, E. Lucas, 
Captain and Officer of the Legion of Honour, 

The following is a transcript of the original first- 
draft of the Proces Verbal, as committed to paper 
and signed on board the " Swiftsure." The original 
document is now in the possession of Mme. 
Merienne Lucas Jobard, of Passy. A copy of it, 
made by M. Destrem, the Conservateur, was 
recently presented to the Musee de la Marine at 
the Louvre, on the walls of which it is now ex- 
hibited. There is also the fair-written document, 
actually presented to Decres, that is in the archives 
of the Ministry of Marine. 

"Proces verbal de la perte du V. de S. M. I. & R. le 
Redoutable, commande par M. Lucas, cap 6 de V. officier de 
la Leg. d'honneur. 


having the command of His Majesty's ship Le 
Redoutable, together with the officers of the Etat 
Major (commissioned officers), under-officers, etc., 
finding ourselves brought together on board the 
English ship Swiftsure, and having survived the 
loss of our own ship, have drawn up the following 
report, containing the reasons and circumstances 
which occasioned the loss of the Redoutable. 

"On the 21st of October (29th Vendemiaire), 
at half -past eleven, the Combined Fleet found 
itself to windward of the enemy, forming in line 
of battle. The Redoutable, according to the 
order of seniority, was third ship astern of the 
admiral's flagship, the Bucentaure. The two 
intermediate ships, in the course of an evolution, 
owing to want of wind, were out of station 

" Aujourd'hui l er brumaire an 14, Nous, Cap 6 de V. off. 
de la Legion cThonneur, command 1 le V. S. M. I. R. le 
Redoutable, officiers composant Tetat major, aspirants et 
premiers maitres, qui avons survecu a la perte du dit V. nous 
trouvant reunis a bord du V. anglais le Swift-Sure, avons 
dresse le present proces verbal, pour constater les causes et 
circonstances qui ont occasionne la perte du V. qui nous 
etait confie. 

"Le 29 Vendemiaire, an 14, a ll h | du matin, Tarmee 
combinee se trouvant sous le vent de Tennemi, cherchait a se 
former en bataille, les amures a babord ; le vent etait faible : 
cependant les vaisseaux pouvaient manoeuvrer et gouvernaient 
bien. Le Redoutable, d'apres Tordre signale, devait se 
trouver le 3 me V. dans les eaux du V. amiral le Bucentaure ; 
mais les 2 V. qui nous precedaient ayant arrive sous le vent 
et la ligne qui commen^ait a se former, laissaient par cette 


and left the admiral's ship exposed just at the 
moment when the enemy had made his disposi- 
tions for attacking our centre. The Victory, 
of 110 guns, under Admiral Nelson, and the 
Te'meraire, of the same rate, were at the head of 
the division which bore down upon the admiral's 
ship to cut it off and surround it. Captain Lucas, 
soon perceiving the enemy's design, immediately 
took measures to take post close up in wake of 
the Bucentaure, in which he happily succeeded. 
Although the flag-captain from on board that 
ship hailed us several times to shorten sail, we 
kept close astern. We had all unanimously deter- 
mined rather to lose our own ship than witness the 
capture of our admiral. 

"At a quarter before twelve firing opened on 

manoeuvre le V. amiral entierement a decouvert, a Tinstant 
surtout ou Tun des deux pelotons sur lesquels etait formee 
Tarmee ennemie manoeuvrait ostensiblement pour attaquer 
notre corps de bataille. Les vaisseaux Le Victory de 110 
canons, monte par Tamiral Nelson, et le Temeraire, aussi de 
110 canons, qui precedaient le dit peloton, gouvernaient 
sur le V. amiral qui etait en panne, pour Tenvelopper ; Pun 
d'eux cherchait a lui passer a poupe : le Cap. Lucas ayant 
juge Tintention de 1'ennemi manceuvra sur le champ pour 
mettre le beaupre du Redoutable sur la poupe du Bucentaure. 
Nous y parvinmes tellement que le commandant de ce 
vaisseau nous hella"" [sic] "plusieurs fois que nous allions 
Taborder. Nous etions tous decides a nous ensevelir sous 
les debris de notre V. plutot que de laisser enlever celui de 

"A ll h | les vaisseaux des deux armees, qui se sont trouves 


ICollingwood is shown in the centre of the picture (in the background) making his attack] 



[The original drawings here shown were made by an officer of the "Redoutable" for 
Captain Lucas. They are now in possession of Captain Lucas's granddaughter, who 
allowed copies to be made for the Musec tic la Marine at the Louvre, whence these 
are reproduced] 

To face p. 150 


both sides between the ships that were within gun- 
shot. The enemy's two three-deckers directed all 
their efforts to forcing in our line in wake of the 
Bucentaure, and to drive the Redoutable foul 
of her, so as to make our admiral's ship cease 
firing. They were, however, unable to move us. 
We determined to range ourselves alongside the 
enemy's admiral, and in that situation we gave and 
received a number of broadsides. The enemy, 
however, could not prevent us from lashing our- 
selves fast to the Victory. Our captain then 
gave orders to board, whereupon our brave crew, 
with their officers at their head, instantly made 
ready for the onset. The conflict was begun with 
small arms, and upwards of two hundred hand 
grenades were flung on board the Victory. 

a portee ont commences le feu ; les deux V. ennemis, a 3 ponts, 
persistant audacieusement de passer a poupe du Bucentaure 
menacaient d'aborder le Redoutable pour le forcer d'arriver 
et faciliter leur passage ; mais n'ayant pas reussir a nous faire 
ployer, 1'amiral Nelson nous a abordes par babord et nous 
nous sommes reciproquement tire plusieurs bordees a bout 
touchant; le carnage qui en est resulte ne nous a point 
empeches de lancer nos grappins a bord du Victory, et le 
commandant a, sur le champ, ordonne Tabordage. Aussitot 
les braves composant Tequipage, avec une intrepidite au 
dessus de tout eloge, conduits par leurs officiers, se sont 
precipites sur les bastinguages et dans les haubans pour 
sauter a bord de Tennemi. Alors s'est engage un combat de 
mousqueterie. Plus de 200 grenades ont ete jetteis" [sic] 
" a bord du Victory : Tamiral Nelson combattait a la tete de 
son equipage. Notre feu etait tellement superieur qu'en 


Admiral Nelson fought at the head of his crew 
(1'amiral Nelson combattait a la tete de son 
equipage), but still, as our fire was much more 
vigorous than that of the English, we silenced 
them in about a quarter of an hour. The deck of 
the Victory was strewn with dead, and Admiral 
Nelson was killed by a musket shot (1'amiral 
Nelson fut tue d'un coup de fusil). It proved, 
however, unexpectedly difficult to board the 
Victory ; her upper deck stood so much higher 
than that of the Redoutable. Ensign Yon, how- 
ever, and four seamen, climbing up by an anchor, 
succeeded. They would have been followed by 
the rest of their brave comrades, but, at that 
moment, the English ship Temeraire, perceiving 
that the fire of her admiral's flagship had ceased, 
and that she must inevitably be taken (Le Te'me'- 
raire qui s'etait aperu sans doute que 1'amiral 
anglais ne combattait pas et allait infailliblement 
etre pris), immediately fell upon us on our star- 

moins d'un quart d'heure nous faire taire celui de Tennemi : 
ses gaillards etaient jonches de morts et Famiral Nelson tue 
d'un coup de fusil. II etait difficile de passer a bord du 
Victory a cause de la superiorite de I'elevation de sa 3 e 
batterie : Taspirant Yon et le matelots y parvinrent par 
le moyen d'une de les ancres, mais a Pinstant ou ils allaient 
etre suivis par tous nos braves qui couvraient les bastinguages 
et les haubans de babord, le V. a 3 ponts le Temeraire, qui 
s'etait aperU sans doute que Tamiral anglais ne combattait 
plus et allait infailliblement etre pris, est venu nous aborder 
par tribord, et nous cribler, a bout touchant, du feu de toute 


board side, after first raking us with a heavy fire. 
The slaughter that ensued is indescribable. More 
than two hundred of our men were killed. The 
captain now ordered the remainder to go below 
and fire at the Temeraire with what guns were not 
disabled. Immediately after that there came up 
astern another of the enemy's ships, within pistol- 
shot of us ; in which station she remained till we 
had to strike our colours. 

" That calamity took place about half-past two 
p.m., for the following reasons : 

" 1. Because, out of a crew consisting of six 
hundred and forty-three men, five hundred and 
twenty-two were no longer in a situation to con- 
tinue the fight. Three hundred had been killed, 
and two hundred and twenty-two were badly 
wounded. Among the latter were the whole of 
the Etat Major and ten junior officers. 

son artillerie : rien ne peut exprimer le carnage qui en est 
resulte ; plus de 200 hommes furent mis hors de combat ; le 
commandant alors ordonna au reste de Tequipage de se porter 
dans les batteries et de decharger sur le Temeraire les canons 
de tribord qui n'avaient pas ete demontes par Tabordage de 
se V. 

" Au meme instant un autre V. ennemi, s'etant place par 
notre poupe a portee de pistolet nous a canonnes jusqu'a ce 
que le pavilion ait ete amene (evenement qui a en lieu a 
2 hs | apres midi), d'apres Pa vis des soussignes et les considera- 
tions suivantes : 

" 1 que sur 643 h. d'equipage 522, etaient hors de combat, 
dont 300 tues et 222 grievement blesses, du nombre desquels 
se trouvait en totalite Tetat major et dix aspirants sur 12. 


" 2. Because the ship was dismasted : the main 
and mizen masts had gone by the board (demates 
au raz du pont). The former fell on the Teme'r- 
aire, and the yards of that ship fell on board the 

" 3. Because the tiller and helm and rudder gear 
and the stern-post itself had been entirely destroyed. 

" 4. Because nearly all our guns were dismounted 
(la presque totality de 1'artillerie etait entierement 
de'monte'e) partly in our coming into collision 
with two three-deckers, partly by their shot, and 
several of the guns dismounted, and in consequence 
of the bursting of an eighteen-pounder gun on the 
lower deck, and a thirty-six-pounder carronade on 
the forecastle. 

" 5. Because the poop had been entirely smashed 
in (la poupe etait entierement creve'e) and the 
counter timbers and deck beams shattered and 
wrecked so that the whole of the after part of the 

" 2 que le V. etait demate au ras du pont de son g d mat 
et de celui (Tartimon ; le l er etait tombe a bord du Temeraire, 
et les deux mats d'hune de ce V. etaient tombe a bord du 

" 3 que la tamisaille, la barre la meche du gouvernail et 
meme Tetambot etaient entierement coupes. 

" 4 que la presque totalite de 1'artillerie etait demontee : 
une partie par les abordages des deux V. a 3 ponts, une autre 
par les boulets de 1'ennemi ; enfin parce qu'un canon de 18 
de la 2 e batterie et une caronade de 36 du gaillard d'avant 
avaient creve. 

" 5 que la poupe etait entierement crevee, que les barres 
d'arquasse et d'hourdi, les jambettes de voute etaient telle- 


ship formed practically a gaping cavity (tellement 
hachees que toute partie ne formait qu'un large 

" 6. Because almost all the port lids had been 
smashed and the ports destroyed by the fire of 
the Victory and Temeraire. 

"7. Because both sides of the ship and the 
decks were shot through and riddled in such a 
manner that numbers of the wounded below on 
the orlop, and as they lay in the cockpit, were 
being killed helplessly. 

" 8. Because the ship was on fire astern. 

"9. Because, finally, the ship was leaking in 
many places, and had several feet of water in the 
hold, and nearly all the pumps had been destroyed 
by shot. We had cause to fear that she might go 
down under our feet. 

"Throughout the whole of the battle, the 

ment hachees que toute cette partie ne formait qu'un large 

"6 que tous nos mantelets de sabord avaient ete brises 
par nos abordages, et que tous nos ponts etaient perces par les 
boulets des 3 me batteries des deux V. Victory et Temeraire. 

" 7 que les deux cotes du V. etaient entierement perces a 
jour et que les boulets qui penetraient dans notre faux pont 
nous avaient deja tue plusieurs de nos blesses. 

" 8 parce que le feu avait deja pris dans la braye de notre 

" 9 Enfin, parce que le V. avait plusieurs voles d^eau, que 
presque toutes les pompes etaient brisees et que nous avions 
acquis la certitude que le V. ne tarderait pas a couler au fond. 

" Dans ce combat les V : le Victory et le Temeraire ont 
constammant combattu le V. le Redoutable et nous ne nous 


Victory and Temeraire never ceased their attacks 
upon the Redoutable ; nor did we separate 
from each other for some time after the battle 
had ceased between the rest of the fleets. The 
Victory lost her mizen-mast, her rigging was 
nearly cut to pieces, and a great part of her crew 
were disabled. Admiral Nelson was killed by a 
musket shot during the attempt to board. 

" At seven in the evening the Swiftsure took us 
in tow, and next morning sent a party on board to 
take charge and remove Captain Lucas, Lieutenant 
Dupotet, and M. Ducrest. By noon the leaks had 
increased so much, that the prize-master signalled 
for assistance. The Swiftsure sent her boats to 
save the remainder of our crew, but they had only 
the time to remove one hundred and nineteen 
Frenchmen. About seven that evening the whole 

sommes separes tous trois que plusieurs heures apres que les 
armees ne combattaient plus. Le V. Victory a perdu son mat 
d'artimon, son petit mat d'hune, son grand mat de perroquet, 
presque toutes ses vergues; sa barre de gouvernail a etc 
coupee ; 11 a en beaucoup de monde hors de combat et 
particulierement Tamiral Nelson, tue a Tabordage par le feu 
de notre mousqueterie. 

" Vers les 7 hs du soir, le V. angl. le Swift-Sure est venu 
nous prendre a la remorque. Le 30, au matin, il a envoye 
un canot a bord du Redoutable chercher le Commandant 
Lucas, le lieut* en pied Dupotet et Tenseigne de V. Ducrest. 
Vers les midi le mat de misaine du Redoutable est venu a 
bas ; a 5 h. du soir le cap. de prise a fait un signal pour 
demander du secours. Le V. le Swift-Sure a envoye des 
embarcations pour sauver le monde ; on a en que le temps 
d'en retirer 119 francais et a 7 hs du soir la poupe du 


of the stern being under water, the Redoutable 
went down with all the wounded on board. On 
the 23rd (l re Brumaire) the captain of the Swift- 
sure seeing some people at a distance on a wreck, 
caused them to be brought in, to the number of 
fifty, but, including sixty-four of the wounded, who 
were taken out, not more than one hundred and 
sixty-nine were saved out of four hundred and 

" On board the Swiftsure. 

" Signed by the Officers of the quarter-deck 
and confirmed by " Captain Lucas." 

Redoutable sMtant entierement ecroulee, il a coule a fond 
avec les malheureux blesses qui etaient restes a bord. 

" Le l er brumaire au matin le cap. du V. angl. Swift-Sure 
ayant apercu de loin plusieurs hommes sur des dromes, les a 
envoye chercher, au nombre de 50 : la totalite des hommes 
sauves est de 169 h. sur le nombre desquels 70 sont blesses. 

" En foi de quoi nous avons dresse le present proces verbal 
a bord du V. angl. le Swift-Sure les jour, mois et an, que ci 
dessus, et avons signe : 

" Guillaume : cap. au 79 e Bohan : off. de Sante chef 

" Dupotet : (lieut en pied) e* Hosteau : asp. de l re cl. 

en second Chauvin : lieut. au 79 e 

" Laity : enseigne de Vaiss 1 Maubrat : asp. de 2 cl. 

" Maiol : enseigne Lemesle : d 

" Sergent : d Le Ferec : aspirant 

"Ducrest: d LaFortelle: d 

" Auroche : cap. 6 e depot colonial Patin : maitre charpentier 

" Pean : ayent comptable Goumaud : commis au vivres 

" Blondel : cap. d'artillerie Ricaud : maitre calfat 
" Vu par le Cap 6 de V. commandant, 

" LUCAS." 



The second statement is much fuller. It practi- 
cally forms an eyewitness's narrative of the doings 
of the ship and of what went on on board during 
the battle. The document is, as will be seen, 
a clear and vivid narrative of events. The original 
report, dated Reading, 6th January, 1806, is in the 
archives of the Ministry of Marine : Vol. B.B. 4 237. 
"Batailles de Trafalgar et du Cap Ortegal"; No. 28. 
It was apparently conveyed to France by Cap- 
tain Magendie on his release on parole during 
January, 1806. Captain Lucas heads his account 
as follows: 


"Made to his Excellency the Minister of Marine 
and of the Colonies, by M. Lucas, naval captain, 
officer of the Legion of Honour, on the sea battle 
of Trafalgar between the combined fleet of France 
and Spain under the orders of Admirals Filleneuvc 
and Grravina and the English fleet commanded by 
Admiral Nelson; and particularly on the combat 
between the Victory of 110 guns with the flag 
of Admiral Nelson, the Temeraire of the same 
force and another ship, a two-decker, and the 
Redoutable, of which His Majesty had entrusted 
me with the command" 


He then proceeds : 
" Monseigneur, 

"Although the loss of the Redoutable 
forms a part of the defeat undergone by the Com- 
bined Fleets of France and Spain in the sanguinary 
battle off Cape Trafalgar, the part taken by this 
particular ship, all the same, deserves a distinguished 
place by itself in the annals of the French Navy. 
In consequence I owe it to the memory of the 
brave men who fell in the terrible fight, or went 
down in the remains of the Redoutable when she 
sank, I owe it also to the glory of the small band 
of those who survived that inexpressible slaughter, 
to bring under the notice of your Excellency a 
picture of their exploits, the efforts of their valour, 
and above all the expressions of their love for, and 
attachment to, His Imperial and Royal Majesty, 
whose name, repeated a thousand times with the 
utmost enthusiasm, seemed to render them in- 
vincible. Nothing could equal the ardour of such 
heroes at the moment that I announced to them 
that we were going to board the English flagship ; 
and not even the intrepid Nelson himself could 
have died more nobly than in combating enemies 
so worthy of his courage and of his grand 

" I will not undertake here to explain the move- 
ments of the two fleets during the whole of the 
action. Surrounded myself with fire and smoke, I 


was only able at intervals to discern the ships in 
my immediate neighbourhood. . . . But I will 
enter into all the details of what took place on 
board the Redoutable during the contest that my 
ship went through at the cannon's mouth and 
broadside to broadside with a ship of a hundred 
and ten guns, the Temeraire of the same force, 
and a third ship, a two-decker, of which I do not 
know the name." 

Captain Lucas next gives his account of the 
events of the morning up to the moment of open- 
ing fire, which has been already quoted. He then 
goes on as follows : 

"At eleven the fleet hoisted its colours. The 
ensign of the Redoutable went up in a very im- 
pressive manner; the drums beat 'Aux Drapeaux'; 
the soldiers presented arms. Then the flag was 
saluted by officers and men with cheers, seven 
times repeated, ' Vive 1'Empereur ! ' 

"The enemy's column, which was directed 
against our centre, was at eleven o'clock on the 
port side, and the flagship Bucentaure began firing. 
I ordered a number of the captains of the guns to 
go up on the forecastle and observe why it was 
some of our ships fired badly. They found that 
all then* shots carried too low and fell short. I 
then gave orders to aim for dismasting, and above 
all to aim straight. At a quarter to twelve the 
Redoutable opened fire with a shot from the first 


gun division. It cut through the foretopsail yard 
of the Victory, whereupon cheers and shouts re- 
sounded all over the ship. Our firing was well 
kept up, and in less than ten minutes the British 
flagship had lost her mizen-mast, foretopsail, and 
main topgallant mast. Meanwhile I always kept 
so close to the Bucentaure that several times they 
called to me from their stern gallery that I should 
run them down ; indeed, the bowsprit of the Re- 
doutable touched the crown of the flagship's taff- 
rail ; but I assured them they had nothing to be 
anxious about. 

"The damage done to the Victory did not 
affect the daring manoeuvre of Admiral Nelson. 
He repeatedly persisted in trying to break the line 
in front of the Redoutable, and threatening to run 
us down if we opposed. But the proximity of 
the British flagship, though closely followed by the 
Temeraire, instead of intimidating my intrepid 
crew, only increased their ardour ; and to show the 
English admiral that we did not fear his fouling 
us, I had grappling irons made fast at all the yard- 

" The Victory having now succeeded in passing 
astern of the French admiral, ran foul of us, 
dropping alongside and sheering off aft in such a 
way that our poop lay alongside her quarter-deck. 
From this position the grappling irons were thrown 
on board her. Those at the stern parted, but 
those forward held on ; and at the same time our 


broadside was discharged, resulting in a terrible 
slaughter. We continued to fire for some time, 
although there was some delay at the guns. We 
had to use rope rammers in several cases, and fire 
with the guns run in, being unable to bowse them, 
as the ports were masked by the sides of the 
Victory. At the same time, elsewhere, by means of 
muskets fired through the ports into those of the 
Victory, we prevented the enemy from loading 
their guns, and before long they stopped firing on 
us altogether. What a day of glory for the 
Redoutable if she had had to fight only with the 
Victory ! The English batteries, not being able to 
resist us longer, ceased firing (les batteries du 
Victoire ne pouvaient plus nous riposter). 1 Then I 
became aware that the crew of the enemy were 
about to attempt to board us. At once I had the 
trumpets sounded, giving the divisional call for 
boarding. All hastened up from below instantly, 
in fine style ; the officers and midshipmen sprang 
to the head of their men, as though at a parade. 
In less than a minute our decks swarmed with 
armed men, who spread themselves with rapidity 
on the poop and in the nettings and the shrouds. 

1 " The Redoutable commenced a heavy fire of musketry from the 
tops, which was continued for a considerable time with destructive 
effect to the Victory's crew ; her great guns, however, being silent, it 
was supposed at different times that she had surrendered ; and, in 
consequence of this opinion, the Victory twice ceased firing upon 
her by Orders transmitted from the Quarter deck." Dr. Beatty's 
"Authentic Narrative of the Death of Lord Nelson." 



It would be impossible to say who was the fore- 

"Then a heavy fire of musketry opened, in 
which Admiral Nelson fought at the head of his 
crew. Our firing, though, became so rapid, and 
was so much superior to his, 
that in less than a quarter of 
an hour we had silenced that 
of the Victory altogether. 
More than two hundred gren- 
ades were flung on board her, 
with the utmost success ; her 
decks were strewn with the 
dead and wounded. Admiral 
Nelson was killed by the 
firing of our musketry. 

" Immediately after this, 
the upper deck of the Victory 
became deserted, and she 
again ceased firing, but it 
proved difficult to board her 
because of the motion of the 
two vessels, and the height 
of the Victory's upper tier 
and battery. On that I gave the order to cut 
the supports of the main-yard so that it might 
serve as a bridge. At the same time Midshipman 
Yon and four seamen sprang on board the Victory 
by means of her anchor, and we then knew that 
there was nobody left in the batteries. At that 



moment, when my brave fellows were hastening 
to follow, the three-decker Temeraire, which had 
seen that the Victory fought no longer and must 
without fail be taken (allait infailliblement etre 
pris), came down, full sail, on our starboard 
side. We were immediately under the full fire 
of her artillery, discharged almost with muzzles 

" It is impossible to describe the carnage pro- 
duced by the murderous broadside of this ship. 
More than two hundred of our brave men were 
killed or wounded by it. I was wounded also at 
the same time, but not so seriously as to make me 
abandon my post. Not being able to undertake 
anything on the side of the Victory, I now ordered 
the rest of the crew to man the batteries on the 
other side and fire at the Temeraire with what 
guns the collision when she came alongside had 
not dismounted. 

"The order was carried out; but by this time 
we had been so weakened, and had so few guns 
left available, that the Temeraire replied to us with 
great advantage. A short time afterwards another 
ship, a two-decker, whose name I cannot recall, 
placed herself across the stern of the Redoutable 
and fired on us within pistol-shot. In less than 
half an hour our ship had been so fearfully mauled 
that she looked like little more than a heap of 
debris. Judging by appearances, no doubt, the 
Tdmeraire now hailed us to surrender and not 


: o 





prolong a useless resistance. My reply was in- 
stantly to order some soldiers who were near me 
to fire back ; which they did with great alacrity. 
At the same moment almost, the mainmast of 
the Redoutable fell on board the English ship. 
The two topmasts of the Temeraire then came 
down, falling on board of us. Our whole poop 
was stove in, helm, rudder, and stern post all 
shattered to splinters, all the stern frame, and the 
decks shot through. All our own guns were 
either smashed or dismounted by the broadsides 
of the Victory and Temeraire. In addition, an 
18-pounder gun on the lower deck, and a 32-pounder 
carronade on the forecastle had burst, killing and 
wounding a great many men. The hull itself was 
riddled, shot through from side to side; deck beams 
were shattered ; port-lids torn away or knocked 
to pieces. Four of our six pumps were so damaged 
as to be useless. The quarter-deck ladders were 
broken, which rendered communication with the 
rest of the ship very difficult. Everywhere the 
decks were strewn with dead men, lying beneath 
the ddbris. Out of a crew of 634 men we had 
522 hors de combat; of whom 300 were killed 
and 222 wounded nearly all the officers among 
them. A number of the wounded were killed 
on the orlop deck below the water-line. Of the 
remaining 121, a large number were employed in 
the storerooms and magazines. The batteries and 


upper decks were practically abandoned bare of 
men, and we were unable longer to offer any 
resistance. No one who had not seen the state of 
the Redoutable could ever form an idea of her 
awful condition. Really I know of nothing on 
board that had not been hit by shot. 1 In the midst 
of this horrible carnage and devastation my splen- 
did fellows who had not been killed, and even, too, 
the wounded below on the orlop, kept cheering 
* Long live the Emperor ! We are not taken yet ! 
Is the Captain still alive?' ('Vive 1'Empereur! 
Nous ne sommes pas encore pris ! Le Command- 
ant, vit il encore ? ') Some tarred canvas at the 
stern took fire about this time, but happily the 

1 Here, by way of a comparison with the effects of modern gun fire 
on a modern ship of war, is an account by a newspaper correspondent 
of the damage done to the Russian battleship ' ' Orel," Admiral Togo's 
great prize from the battle of the Sea of Japan : " I was permitted 
yesterday to visit and inspect the captured Russian battleship Orel at 
Maizuru. The Orel received a terrible battering. The hull shows 
forty gaping holes pierced by large shells and many smaller hits, 
while the superstructure, upper works, and upper decks were riddled 
by shell, steel fragments, and splinters. The starboard forward 
12-inch gun was smashed ten feet from the muzzle, either by a shell 
or by an explosion. A fragment of the gun went over the bridge, 
smashing the rail, and carrying away the breech of a 12-pounder, 
finally burying itself in the signal locker. From the main deck up- 
wards the condition of the vessel was terrible. The steel partitions 
were smashed, the gangway was broken, the stanchions were wrecked, 
and gear of various kinds littered the decks and alley ways. The 
ship was on fire several times, and the marks of the names in- 
creased the appearance of the desolation. The main armour belt 
was intact, and the turret armour generally withstood Japanese shell, 
although two six-inch turrets were rendered unserviceable by shots, 
which struck close to the base. Several smaller guns were dismounted 
and smashed." 


flames were held in check, and we succeeded before 
long in extinguishing them. 1 

"The Victory by this time fought no longer. 
She busied herself only with getting clear of the 
Redoutable. We, however, meanwhile were being 
cut to pieces by the cross fire from the Temeraire, 
with whom we still fought, and from the other 
ship, which was still firing into us at the stern. 
Unable to meet that fire, and not seeing any 
chance of rescue, the rest of our ships being all too 
far to leeward to be able to come to our assistance, 
I hesitated no longer about surrendering. The leaks 
were sufficiently serious to ensure the ship going 
to the bottom, so that the enemy would not keep 
her. When I satisfied myself finally about this, 
I gave orders to lower the colours. The flag, 
however, came down by itself with the fall of the 
mizen-mast. 2 We were then left by the ship which 
had been firing into us astern, but the Temeraire 
continued to fire on us. She did not give over 

1 A party from the "Victory/' consisting of two midshipmen and 
eight or ten marines, was sent on board the "Redoutable'' to lend a 
hand. As the only way of getting across they got down through a 
stern port into one of the " Victory's " boats towing astern, rowed to 
the ' ' Redoutable," and clambered on board through the stern ports. 
They were, we are told, " well received." 

2 Several pictures of the " Defence of the Redoutable at Trafalgar" 
have been exhibited at the Salon. A very interesting set of sketches 
in Indian ink, showing the movements of the ' ' Redoutable " and details 
of the battle in her neighbourhood, was made at Captain Lucas's 
instance. Copies are in the Musee de la Marine at the Louvre, which 
by permission of Captain Lucas's family, and the Conservateur of the 
Musee de la Marine, are reproduced in this book. 


until her men were obliged to do so by having to 
work at extinguishing a fire which had broken out 
on board their own ship. It was then half-past 
two in the afternoon. 

" The Victory, the Redoutable, with the Temer- 
aire and the Mercure [sic], 1 were all the time 
joined together, owing to their masts having fallen 
across from one ship to the other. Unable to 
use their helms, they formed one mass, which 
drifted at the mercy of the wind. In that way 
they came foul of the^ Fougueux, which, hav- 
ing fought against several of the enemy's ships, 
had been left by them without having lowered her 
flag. She was dismasted and unrigged, and float- 
ing an unmanageable hulk. On fouling the group 
of ships she was boarded by the Temeraire. The 
Fougueux was, however, beyond making serious 
resistance. Her brave captain, Baudouin, though, 
even then made an effort, but in vain. He was 
killed at the outset, and his second in command 
was wounded at the same moment; whereupon 
some men of the Temeraire sprang on board and 
took possession." 

1 There was no ship of this name at Trafalgar on either side. As 
a fact, also, the " Victory " had already got clear of the group before 
the " Redoutable " surrendered. The capture of the " Fougueux," here 
referred to by Captain Lucas, also took place before the " Redoutable's" 
colours came down, and, according to English accounts, under some- 
what different circumstances as the result of an attempt to rescue the 
" Redoutable '' by boarding the "Temeraire." 


Captain Lucas then describes what followed the 

" The enemy took no steps to take possession 
of the Redoutable, in which the leaks were so con- 
siderable that I feared the ship would sink before 
they would be able to get the wounded out. I 
represented the state of things to the Temeraire, 
and warned them that unless they took steps at 
once to send men on board with gear for the pumps 
and give us immediate succour, I would have to set 
fire to the ship, which would involve the Temeraire 
and the Victory. Immediately after that two 
officers and some seamen and marines came on 
board and took possession of the ship. One of the 
English marines, who entered on the lower deck 
through a port, was attacked by one of our 
wounded sailors armed with a musket and bayonet. 
He fell on the Englishman with fury, shouting, * I 
must kill one more of them ! ' He bayoneted the 
marine through the thigh, and the man fell between 
the two vessels. In spite of this incident, how- 
ever, I was able to induce the English party to 
remain on board. They wanted to return to their 
own ship and leave us. 

" Towards three o'clock some of the ships of our 
van squadron which were to windward on the 
starboard tack and apparently about to draw off 
from the battle, without having been perceptibly 
damaged, fired several shots at our group, but from 
a long range. Several of their cannon balls fell 


on board the Redoutable, and one of the English 
officers had his thigh shattered and died in a few 

" At half-past three, the Victory separated her- 
self from the Redoutable, but she was in so dis- 
mantled a state as to be hors de combat. 1 It was 
not until seven in the evening that they were able 
to get the Redoutable clear of the Tem^raire, 
which still, however, remained foul of the Fougueux. 
We had not yet been formally taken possession of, 
but the English Swiftsure now arrived and took us 
in tow. 

" We spent the whole of that night at the two 
pumps which were all that remained workable, 
without, however, being able to keep the water 
under. The few Frenchmen who were able to do 
duty joined with the English party on board in 
pumping, stopped several leaks, blocked up the 
port holes and boarded in the poop of the ship, 
which was ready to cave in. Indeed, no toil was 
too hard for them. In the middle of all the 
turmoil and horrible disorder on board, just keep- 
ing the ship above water, with the 'tween-decks 
and batteries encumbered with dead, I noticed 
some of my brave fellows, particularly the young 
midshipmen, of whom several were wounded, 
picking up arms which they hid on the lower deck, 
with the intention, as they said, of retaking the 

1 The " Victory " got clear, according to English accounts, before 
two o'clock. 


ship. Never were so many traits of intrepidity, 
of valour and daring, displayed on board a single 
ship ; the whole history of our navy can show 
nothing like them. 

"Next morning the captain of the Swiftsure 
sent a boat to take me on board, together with 
Lieutenant Dupotet and Midshipman Ducrest, 
and we were duly conducted there. At noon the 
Redoutable lost her foremast, the only mast she 
had left. At five in the evening the water con- 
tinued so to gain on the pumps that the prize- 
master made signals of distress, and all the boats 
of the Swiftsure were lowered to rescue the crew. 
It was blowing very hard at the time, and the sea 
ran very high, which made the getting out of the 
wounded very difficult. These poor fellows, on its 
being seen that the ship was going down, were 
nearly all brought up and laid on the quarter-deck. 
They were able to save several of them. At seven 
in the evening the poop was entirely submerged. 
The Redoutable sank with a large number of the 
wounded still on board. They met their death 
with courage worthy of a better fate. A hundred 
and sixty-nine men, forming the remainder of the 
brave crew of the Redoutable, found themselves 
together on board the English ship. Seventy of 
the number were badly wounded and sixty-four 
of the rest had less serious wounds. All the 
wounded were sent into Cadiz under a flag of 
truce, and in the end only thirty-five men from 


the Redoutable were taken to England as prisoners 
of war. 

" The results of the battle as regarded the 
Redoutable were these : the loss of the ship and 
destruction of three-quarters of her crew. On the 
other hand, single-handed, she had throughout the 
battle engaged the attention of two three-deckers, 
the Victory and Temeraire ; and in this way had 
fully occupied Admiral Nelson himself, who, taken 
up with this one encounter, could only free him- 
self by excessive daring. England has lost the 
hero of her navy, who fell before the brave men of 
the Redoutable. More than three hundred men, 
several of them superior officers, were put hors de 
combat on board the enemy's ships. The Victory 
lost her mizen topmast in the action and main top- 
gallant mast ; and in general all her yards were 
badly damaged and also the wheel. The Temer- 
aire lost two of her topmasts ; two lower yards, and 
her helm and rudder were destroyed by the guns of 
our upper deck. Both ships had to return to Eng- 
land to undergo large repairs. 

" I add to this report a return of the ship's com- 
pany of the Redoutable, both before and after the 
battle. It will show you the loss of men of each 
class. I also add a list of the officers by name, 
both of the Etat Major and the midshipmen. The 
praise and commendation due from me to one 
and all are beyond expression. No one who 
did not see the valour of the officers and young 


midshipmen told off to lead our boarding parties 
can form an idea of their ebullient ardour, their 
splendid audacity especially when, at the head 
of the brave men that each commanded, they 
stood in front of the boarding-nettings, armed 
some with pistols and cutlasses, others with car- 
bines, all directing the fire of the musketry and the 
flinging of the grenades. In this, the officers of 
infantry and those of the ship, the sailors and 
soldiers alike, all displayed unsurpassable courage, 
and in presenting my list of them it is impossible 
to name which were the most meritorious. 

" Monseigneur, I have the honour to be your 
Excellency's most humble and obedient servant. 

" Captain Commandant of the Redoutable." 

Of the 645 officers and men mustered on board 
the "Redoutable" a day or two before Captain 
Lucas left Cadiz, 300, according to the official 
returns, were killed and 222 wounded. Terrible as 
these figures are, their significance is intensified if 
one goes through, by itself, the official return of 
the officers placed hors de combat. It is com- 
piled from documents among the archives of the 
Ministry of Marine in Paris ; which also account 
for practically every officer on board all the ships 


of the fleet present at the battle. This is the " Re- 
doutable's " return, giving a nominal roll of all the 
officers, both those of the ship herself and of 
the soldiers, on board : 


Lucas (Jean Jaques Etienne) capitaine de vaisseau com- 
mandant. Blesse. 

Dupotet (Henri Joseph) lieutenant en pied. Blesse. 

Briamant (Elie Fra^ois) lieutenant de vaisseau, provisoire. 

Pouloin (Francois Louis) id. Tue. 

Maiol (Jean Fra^ois) enseigne de vaisseau, faisant fonctions 
de lieutenant de vaisseau. Blesse. 

Sergent (Pierre) id. Blessed 

Ducrest (Alexandre) id. 

Laity (Jean Fra^ois) enseigne de vaisseau. Blesse. 

Tresse (Claude Joseph) lieutenant d'artillerie de marine. Tue. 

Pean (Jean Louis) agent comtable. 

Bohan (Allain) officier de sante en chef. 

Guillaume (Louis) Capitaine du 79 e regiment. Blesse tres 

Chauvin (Pierre) lieutenant du 79 e regiment. 

Medeau (Jean) sous lieutenant du 79 e regiment. Tue. 

Auroche (Louis) capitaine au 6 e depot colonial. Blesse. 

Neury (Charles) lieutenant du 6 e depot colonial. Tue. 

Blondel (Quentin Henri-Auguste) capitaine d'artillerie de 

Chafange (Charles) capitaine de 1 6 e regiment. Tue. 

Savignac, sous lieutenant du 1 6 e regiment. Tue. 

Hosteau (Louis Charles) aspirant de l re classe, faisant fonc- 
tions d'enseigne de vaisseau. Blesse. 

Laferriere (Philippe Gautier) id. Tue. 

Lepeltier (Fra^ois) id. Tue. 

Yon (Jaques) id. Tue. 

Daubre (Joseph) aspirant de 2 e classe. Tue. 

Perrin (Fra^ois) id. Tue. 


Maubrat (Seraphin) id. 

La Fortelle (Henri) id. Blesse. 

Lemesle, id. 

Le Ferec (Theodore) id. Blesse. 

The awful loss among the officers comes out even 
more strongly when the foregoing list is analyzed 
in detail. Out of twenty-nine officers of all ranks, 
twelve were killed and ten (including Captain 
Lucas) were wounded. Seven only escaped un- 
hurt; and these included the surgeon and the 
purser, who were stationed in comparative safety 
below. Of six lieutenants and acting lieutenants, 
two were killed and three wounded. Of eleven 
sub-lieutenants and midshipmen, five were killed 
and four were wounded. Of eight officers of the 
troops on board, four were killed and three were 

When Captain Lucas, after a brief detention in 
England at Bishop's Waltham and at Reading, as 
prisoner of war, was exchanged by special cartel 
and had returned to France, Napoleon sent for 
him, and at St. Cloud, in the presence of the 
Etat Major de VEmpereur, glittering with the 
honours of Austerlitz, pinned on the breast of the 
ex-captain of the " Redoutable," with his own 
hand, the Gold Cross of the Legion of Honour, 
and promoted him to rear-admiral. " Had all my 
officers," said Napoleon to Lucas, " behaved as you 
did, the battle would have been a very different 


story ! " Admiral Villeneuve also, writing to 
Captain Lucas to congratulate him on the Em- 
peror's encomium, said the same thing : " Had 
all the captains acted in like manner to you, the 
battle would not have been indecisive for an in- 
stant ; and no one knows this better than myself ! " 
"Si tous les capitaines de vaisseau s'6taient conduits 
comme vous a Trafalgar," were Villeneuve's words, 
" la victoire n'eut pas ete un instant indecisee. 
Certainement personne ne le sait aussi bien que 

With the sanction of the British Admiralty, 
according to a French account, 2 as a mark of dis- 
tinction in connexion with his fine defence of the 
"Redoutable," Captain Lucas's sword was returned 
to him a little time after his arrival in England. 
It was, we are told, ceremoniously handed back to 
him at a supper party in London given for the 
occasion by Lady Warren, the wife of Admiral Sir 
John Borlase Warren. Whether this was really 
so or not, the sword has since disappeared. The 

1 Napoleoii used this language, according to the "Gentleman's 
Magazine " for 1806 : Abstract of Foreign Occurrences Paris, May 3. 
His Majesty said to Captain Lucas and Infernet : " Had all my ships 
behaved like yours, victory would not have been doubtful. I know 
there are several who did not follow your example. I have ordered 
enquiries to be made into their behaviour. But as for you, I have no 
need of information : I have nominated you Commanders in the 
Legion of Honour. Those captains who, instead of boarding the 
enemy's vessels, kept themselves aloof and out of cannon shot, shall 
be prosecuted, and if convicted a signal example shall be made of 

2 H. Moulin, " Les Marius de la Republique," p. 132. 



To face p. 1 76 



descendants of Captain Lucas do not possess it, 
and have no idea of its whereabouts, although 
they treasure with devoted pride other Trafalgar 
relics of their ancestor. 

For the fourteen years that Lucas lived after 
Trafalgar the heroic officer was everywhere known 
throughout the French Navy by the eponym "le 
Redoutable Lucas." To the 
last, we are told further, he 
never failed to remember 
those who had fought with 
him for France at Trafalgar. 
Lucas also had a special seal 
made, bearing the device of a 
ship going down with colours 
flying, and with the words engraved, "Aux braves 
du Redoutable: Nelson mort le 21 Octobre, 
1805," which he used solely for sealing their certifi- 
cates of service. 1 Rear- Admiral Lucas lies buried 
in the cemetery at Brest. He died in 1819, broken- 
hearted, it is said, at being passed over for pro- 
motion by the new Royalist authorities. 2 

1 The seal is now in the possession of Captain Lucas's grandson, 
M. Cleree, of Auteuil, a member of the French Bar. 

2 The last French survivor of Trafalgar, Louis Andre Manuel Car- 
tigny, of Hyeres, died in 1892, at the age of a hundred and one. He 
was a "mousse," or powder-monkey, on board the "Redoutable" in 
the battle, where he was slightly wounded. Cartigny was brought 
to England, and remained a captive on board the hulks at Plymouth, 
at Dartmoor, and in the war-prison at Stapledon, near Bristol, for 
some years. Later he was exchanged, and, returning to France, was 
attached to the ' ' Seamen of the Guard," with whom he was present at 
Fontainebleau on the memorable occasion in 1814 when the Emperor 



Under the Second Empire the name " Redout- 
able" was given to one of the first men-of-war 
added to the navy of France by Napoleon III, a 
magnificent 90 -gun ship, and there is a battleship 
" Redoutable " in the French Fleet at the present 

made his pathetic adieu to the Grand Army. Cartigny received 
the St. Helena pension of 250 francs, and was decorated by Napoleon 
the Third with the Legion of Honour. He was present at Chislehurst 
on the occasion of the Prince Imperial's funeral, as one of the " St. 
Helena Medallists." He died at Hyeres, where he had spent the later 
years of his life as landlord of the Grand Cafe des Quatre Saisons, on 
the Cours de Strasbourg. As it happened, the funeral of France's 
last Trafalgar veteran occurred just as Queen Victoria was arriving 
at Hyeres for some weeks' stay in the neighbourhood, and as soon 
as she heard of it Her Majesty sent a wreath to be placed on the 
veteran's grave, with a sympathetic message to his surviving daughter 
and an expression of regret that she had not known before of the death 
or she would have been represented by an equerry at the graveside. 


TTP WARDS of a quarter of a century after 
^ Trafalgar there appeared in France the follow- 
ing narrative, purporting to have been written by a 
soldier on board the " Redoutable," and stationed 
in the mizentop, one Sergeant Robert Guillemard. 
Its authenticity has, however, been doubted, and 
the authorship is attributed to a collaboration by 
two clever writers of the day, C. O. Barbaroux 
(son of the famous Girondin), and A. J. Lardier, 
who published it as a chapter in a book of adven- 
tures in the Napoleonic wars. Whatever the real 
facts may be, the tale told is an exciting one, and 
certain of its details may well have come from some- 
body on board the " Redoutable " at Trafalgar. 

Here is an extract from the story, as Sergeant 
Guillemard relates it : 

"All our top-men had been killed, when two 
sailors and four soldiers (of whom I was one) were 
ordered to occupy their post in the tops. While 
we were going aloft, the balls and grape-shot 
showered around us, struck the masts and yards, 
knocked large splinters from them, and cut the 
rigging in pieces. One of my companions was 



wounded beside me, and fell from a height of 
thirty feet upon the deck, where he broke his neck. 

"When I reached the top, my first action 
was to take a view of the scene presented by 
the hostile fleets. For more than a league ex- 
tended a thick cloud of smoke, above which were 
discernible a forest of masts and rigging, and the 
flags, the pendants, and the fire of the three 
nations. Thousands of flashes more or less near 
continually penetrated this cloud, and a rolling 
noise very similar to the sound of continued 
thunder, but much stronger, arose from its bosom. 
The sea was calm, the wind light, and not very 
favourable to the execution of manoeuvres. 

" When the English top-men, who were only a 
few yards distant from us, saw us appear, they 
directed a sharp fire upon us, which we returned. 1 
A soldier of my company and a sailor were killed 
quite close to me ; two others, who were wounded, 
were able to go below by the shrouds. Our oppo- 
nents were, it seems, still worse handled than we, 
for I soon saw the English tops deserted, and none 
sent to supply the place of those who must have 
been killed or wounded by our balls. I then 
looked at the English vessel and our own. The 
smoke enveloping them was dissipated for a 
moment but returned thicker at each broadside. 
The two decks were covered with dead bodies, 

1 As a fact, there were none. Nelson objected to having musketry 
in the tops, owing to the danger from lire, and other reasons. 


which they had not time to throw overboard. I 
perceived Captain Lucas motionless at his post 
and several wounded officers still giving orders. 
On the poop of the English vessel was an officer 
covered with orders and with only one arm. 
From what I had heard of Nelson, I had no doubt 
that it was he. He was surrounded by several 
officers, to whom he seemed to be giving orders. 
At the moment I first perceived him, several of 
his sailors were wounded beside him by the fire of 
the Redoutable. As I had received no orders to 
go down, and saw myself forgotten in the tops, I 
thought it my duty to fire on the poop of the 
English vessel, which 1 saw quite exposed and 
close to me. I could even have taken aim at the 
men I saw, but I fired at hazard among the groups 
I saw of sailors and officers. All at once I saw 
great confusion on board the Victory : the men 
crowded round the officer whom I had taken for 
Nelson. He had just fallen, and was taken below, 
covered with a cloak. The agitation shown at this 
moment left me no doubt that I had judged 
rightly, and that it really was the English admiral. 
An instant afterwards the Victory ceased firing; 
the deck was abandoned by all those who occupied 
it, and I presumed that the consternation produced 
by the admiral's fall was the cause of this sudden 
change. I hurried below to inform the captain of 
what I had seen of the enemy's situation." 


This, on the other hand, is our version of the 
Frenchman's fate after the shot. According to the 
account on our side, the man who shot Nelson did 
not escape to tell the tale. It was impossible in 
the smoke to mark him down, but one of the 
"Victory's" midshipmen made it his business to 
see that not one of those in the mizentop of the 
"Redoutable" left there alive. The story came 
out many years afterwards, in a rather roundabout 
way. A letter in the " Times " in 1863 raised a 
controversy as to the identity of the British officer 
in question, it being asserted that Midshipman 
Collingwood of the " Victory," an officer who had 
been dead some years, was entitled to the credit 
of the performance. Incidentally the correspond- 
ence brought out the fact that the "Avenger of 
Nelson " was alive. More than that, indeed, it 
drew from him a personal statement of what he 
did. He was then a retired captain, John Pollard 
by name. The correspondence caught his eye by 
accident in the "Kentish and Surrey Mercury," 
into which it had been copied from the " Times." 
Writing to the Editor of the " Mercury," Captain 
Pollard thus told his story : 

"I was on the poop of the Victory from the time 
the men were beat to quarters before the action 
till late in the evening. I was the first struck, 
as a splinter hit my right arm, and I was the only 
officer left alive of all who had been originally 
stationed on the poop. It is true my old friend 


Collingwood (who has now been dead some years) 
came on the poop after I had for some time 
discovered the men in the top of the Redoutable ; 
they were in a crouching position, and rose breast- 
high to fire. I pointed them out to Collingwood as 
I made my aim ; he took up a musket, fired once, 
and then left the poop, I concluded to return to 
the quarter-deck, which was his station during the 
battle. I remained firing at the top till not a man 
was to be seen ; the last one I discovered coming 
down the mizen rigging, and from my fire he fell 
also. King, a quarter-master, was killed while in 
the act of handing me a parcel of ball cartridge 
long after Collingwood had left the poop. I 
remained there till after the action was over, and 
assisted in superintending the rigging of the jury 
mast. Then I was ushered into the ward-room 
where Sir Thomas Hardy and other officers were 
assembled, arid complimented by them on avenging 
Lord Nelson's death, which fact afterwards ap- 
peared in the Gazette. I did not go on board the 
Redoutable with Mr. Collingwood at all, therefore 
could not have discovered the man 'lying in the 
mizentop, with one ball in his head, and another 
in his breast.' At the time of the action I was 
nineteen years of age." 


THIS, according to French accounts, is how 
things fared with Rear-Admiral Magon, Ville- 
neuve's junior admiral, and his flagship the 
" Algeciras " : 

The "Algeciras" had already exchanged fire 
with several vessels, when she fell in with the 
"Tonnant." The British ship crossed her bows 
and got entangled with her bowsprit. Then, hold- 
ing her antagonist fast, the " Tonnant" began firing 
broadsides into the "Algeciras" that raked the 
French ship from end to end, and to which she 
could only reply with a few of her foremost guns. 
The position for the Algeciras was that of a 
pugilist held fast " in chancery." Admiral Magon, 
as the only thing to do, gave orders to board. He 
would, he shouted, lead the boarders himself. 

The next moment, one bullet carried Magon's 
hat and wig away ; a second struck him in the 
right arm ; immediately after that a third bullet 
struck him in the shoulder. Magon, however, 
flatly refused to leave the quarter-deck. He 
stood at his post, rallying the men, and shouting : 



' The first man that boards that ship with me shall 
have the Cross ! " It was in vain. The idea was 
hopeless. A few seconds later, a cannon ball 
struck the admiral down. It cut him nearly in 
two, and flung him down on deck on his back, 
dead. So a letter from the ship relates. 

A second account says that Magon gave in to 
the repeated solicitations of his officers and allowed 
two of them to support him off the deck. Before 
they had gone many steps, however, a grape-shot 
struck the admiral in the stomach and he dropped 
dead then and there. 

According to a third account Rear -Admiral 
Magon was struck down, as he was in the act of 
heading his men, a tomahawk in his hand, in an 
effort to repel a British boarding party from the 
"Tonnant." He fell with the words on his lips, 
" Sauvez, Sauvez, 1'honneur du Pavilion ! "* 

Immediately afterwards other British ships came 
up and fired into the " Alge^iras," decimating 
her crew. Then the French ship's foremast came 
down, and her main and mizen masts followed, 
one after the other. Captain Letourneur now fell 
dangerously wounded, and the first and second 
lieutenants, Verdreau and Plassan. The charge of 
the ship devolved on a young officer, Lieutenant 

1 Among the officers on board was the Comte d'Houdetot, who 
began his career as a midshipman in the " Algeciras," and was 
wounded at Trafalgar. Being transferred later on to the cavalry, he 
finally, we are told, " covered himself with glory in the heroic charges 
at the battle of the Moskowa.'' 


de la Bretonniere. It was hopeless, though, at that 
stage, even to try to make a further stand. Dis- 
masted and nearly knocked to pieces, on fire 
below, with 216 officers and men hors de combat, 
the "Algebras" had to haul her colours down. 
She had borne herself, as De la Graviere says, 
in a manner " digne de sa haute reputation." l 

To complete the story, we have an eyewitness's 
account from a lieutenant of the " Tonnant " : 

' A French ship of eighty guns," he says, " with 
an admiral's flag came up, and poured a raking 
broadside into our stern which killed and wounded 
forty petty officers and men, nearly cut the rudder 
in two, and shattered the whole of the stern with 
the quarter galleries. She then, in the most 
gallant manner, locked her bowsprit in our star- 
board main shrouds and attempted to board us 
with the greater part of her officers and ship's 
company. She had riflemen in her tops, who did 
great execution. Our poop was soon cleared and 
our gallant captain shot through the left thigh and 
obliged to be carried below. During this time we 
were not idle. We gave it to her most gloriously 
with the starboard and main deckers, and turned 
the forecastle gun, loaded with grape, on the 
gentleman who wished to give us a fraternal hug. 
The marines kept up a warm destructive fire on 
the boarders. Only one man made good his foot- 

1 There are five letters from officers of the " Algebras " among the 
archives of the Ministry of Marine in Paris ; one of them was dictated 
by Captain Letourneur, and two are from de la Bretonniere. 


ing on our quarter-deck, when he was pinned 
through the calf of his right leg by one of the crew 
with his half-pike, whilst another was going to cut 
him down, which I prevented, and desired him to 
be taken to the cockpit. . . . Our severe contest 
with the French admiral lasted more than half an 
hour, our sides grinding so much against each 
other that we were obliged to fire the lower-deck 
guns without running them out. 

"At length both ships caught fire before the 
chess trees, and our firemen, with all the coolness 
and courage so inherent in British seamen, got the 
engine and played on both ships, and finally ex- 
tinguished the flames, although two of them were 
severely wounded in doing so. At length we had 
the satisfaction of seeing her three lower masts go 
by the board, ripping the partners up in their fall, 
as they had been shot through below the deck, 
and carrying with them all their sharpshooters to 
look sharper in the next world ; for as all our boats 
were shot through we could not save one of them 
in this. The crew were then ordered with the 
second lieutenant to board her. They cheered, 
and in a short time carried her. They found the 
gallant French Admiral Magon killed at the foot 
of the poop ladder, and the captain dangerously 
wounded. Out of eight lieutenants, five were 
killed with three hundred petty officers and sea- 
men and about one hundred wounded. We left 
the second lieutenant and sixty men in charge of 


her and took some of the prisoners on board when 
she swung clear of us. We had pummelled her so 
handsomely that fourteen of her lower-deck guns 
were dismounted and her larboard bow exhibited a 
mass of splinters." 1 

1 The late Admiral of the Fleet Sir George Sartorius, who died in 
1886, one of our two last survivors of Trafalgar, was a midshipman in 
the " Tonnant." He attributed his ship's success over the " Alg^iras '' 
entirely to superior gunnery. 

" She (the Tonnant)," he says, cc was one of the very few, perhaps 
one of the four or five, that had been constantly exercised at her guns. 
At the battle of Trafalgar a line-of-battle ship ran alongside us, her 
yard got entangled with our main rigging, and in the course of six- 
and-thirty minutes, from the extreme rapidity of our firing we 
managed to knock away all her masts, and to kill and wound 436 of 
her men. Had we not been well exercised at our guns, I think the 
Frenchman would have got the advantage of us. We had actually our 
engine playing on her broadside to put out the fire caused by the 
flame of our guns." 



T^QUALLY fine was the display made by the 
-*-^ "Intrepide," Captain Louis Antoine Cyprian 
Infernet, to give an heroic officer his full name. 
How he turned back from the van into the fiercest 
of the fighting, in a forlorn-hope effort to rescue 
his admiral and save the fortune of the day ; and 
after that, foiled by fate, fought his ship against 
tremendous odds until the "Intrepide," was left the 
last resisting French ship at Trafalgar, is the story 
of a feat of arms the memory of which, from that 
day to this, has ever been one of the glories of the 
French Navy; one of whose ships, the present-day 
cruiser " Infernet," in her name, commemorates it 
officially. Even at the last, when further resist- 
ance was hopeless, with every mast shot away and 
most of his guns disabled, with eight feet of water 
in the hold in spite of the pumps, with 306 officers 
and men killed and wounded, 45 per cent of the 
total on board even then, though, Captain Infernet 
would not surrender, and his surviving officers had 
to hold him down while the colours were being 



"Ah, que dira 1'Empereur," the brave fellow 
exclaimed, with tears in his eyes, " que dira 
1'Empereur, moi qui 1'avais assure que je pouvais 
encore soutenir dix combats . . . et je me rends 
au premier." l " I have to ask you to be my in- 
terpreter to His Imperial Majesty," wrote Infernet 
on the day after Trafalgar to the Minister of 
Marine, " in expressing to him my deep sorrow at 
having lost the ship that was entrusted to me by 
him, which I had sworn to defend to the death. 


Assure His Majesty above all things of my great 
desire that I may yet have an opportunity of 
avenging the honour of the flag in any other post 
he may judge fit to place me." On his return 
to France, six months after Trafalgar, Napoleon 
specially sent for Infernet to St. Cloud and deco- 
rated him with the Grand Cross of the Legion of 
Honour in the presence of the Imperial Court, on 
the same day that he decorated Lucas of the 
" Redoutable " ; and popular acclaim, exactly as in 

1 Quoted, in a letter dated March, 1847, from Captain the Marquis 
Gicquel des Touches to the Minister of Marine in Paris. The marquis 
was an enseigue de vaisseau (sub-lieutenant) in the " Intrepide '' at 


the case of Captain Lucas, transformed the name 
of the ship into an epithet of distinction for her 
captain. " L'Intrepide Infernet " all France called 
him during the rest of his life. 

This is what took place on board the " Intrepide " 
at Trafalgar, as related in detail by the Marquis 
Gicquel des Touches : J 

"Their fleet, divided into two columns, ap- 
proached us before the wind, a breeze from the 
west, and led by the two vice-admirals, Nelson 
and Collingwood, whose flags flew at the head of 
each line in the three-deckers Victory and Royal 

"This method of engaging battle was contrary 
to ordinary prudence, for the British ships, reach- 
ing us one by one and at a very slow speed, seemed 
bound to be overpowered in detail by our superior 
forces ; but Nelson knew his own fleet and ours. 

"At the same moment that the Victory came 
into action with the Bucentaure and the Santisima 
Trinidad, the column of Admiral Collingwood 
engaged our rear division and the entire fleet 
disappeared from our sight, blotted out by the 

" The leading division, however, although not a 
single British ship threatened it, remained inactive. 

1 " Revue des Deux Mondes/' July, 1905. " Souvenirs d'un Marin 
de la Republique." 


Our captain, Infernet, with his eyes fixed on the 
Formidable, expected Admiral Dumanoir every 
moment to make the signal to go about and take 
part in the battle. But no signal went up. Time 
passed, and the van division slowly drew off from 
where the fighting was going on : it became soon 
but too plain that its chief was keeping out of the 
battle. Admiral Villeneuve, meanwhile, while he 
still had a mast standing on which to hoist a 
signal, was ordering our ships to put about and 
come into action. Undoubtedly, owing to the 
lightness of the wind and the swell, the evolution 
was a slow and difficult one ; but it might at least 
have been attempted. I have to admit, to the 
shame of the van division, that no effort was made 
by them to obey Admiral Villeneuve's signals. 
And I saw the Mont Blanc, the Duguay Trouin, 
and the Scipion, following in the wake of the 
Formidable and drawing off slowly without having 
received a single shot. 

" Happily Captain Infernet took another view 
of his duty, and his honour. Although we were 
immediately under the orders of M. Dumanoir, we 
had already made several unsuccessful attempts to 
put about ; but the wind had been entirely stilled 
by the cannonading and the very heavy ground 
swell, presage of an approaching storm, made it 
difficult for the ship to answer the helm. In the 
end, though, after incessant efforts and by the aid 
of the only boat we had available, we were able to 


wear round, whereupon the captain called out in a 
resounding voice, ' Lou capo sur lou Bucentaure 1 ' 
(Lay her head for the Bucentaure.) It was now 
the hottest moment of the battle. 

" We could hardly make out, in the midst of the 
smoke and confusion of the battle, the situa- 
tion of our flagship, surrounded as she was by 
the enemy, and having near her only the Redout- 
able, a small 74, crushed by the overpower- 
ing mass of the Victory, but still resisting with 
such heroism that they even tried to carry by 
boarding Nelson's own ship. At all points the 
British had the advantage of numbers over us. 
Not one of them was idle, and the advantage of 
an attack from windward permitted them to place 
themselves wherever their presence was neces- 
sary paying no heed to our ships to leeward. 
These could not take part in the battle except from 
afar and must of necessity succumb in detail and 
ineffectively. And more than that. The enemy's 
superiority in gunnery was so great that, in a 
very short time, our crews were decimated, whilst 
on the British side the losses were comparatively 

" When at length we drew near where the 
Bucentaure and the Redoutable lay, their masts 
had fallen, their fire was almost silenced ; yet the 
heroism of those on board kept up an unequal and 
hopeless struggle, fighting against ships that were 
practically undamaged, from the ports of which 


broadside after broadside flashed incessantly. It 
was into the thick of this fray that our Captain 
Infernet led us. He wanted, he said, to rescue 
Admiral Villeneuve and take him on board, and 
then to rally round ourselves the ships that were 
still in a fit state to fight. It was a reckless 
and forlorn hope, a mad enterprise ; and he him- 
self could not doubt it. It was the pretext Infernet 
gave for continuing the fight. He would not have 
it said that the Intrepide had quitted the battle 
while she still could fight a gun or hoist a sail. It 
was noble madness, but, though we knew it, we 
all supported him with joyful alacrity : and would 
that others had imitated his example ! 

" We had soon the honour of drawing on us a 
number of the enemy : the Leviathan, the Africa, 
the Agamemnon, the Orion, the Temeraire (? the 
Britannia) of 100 guns. They all set on us fiercely, 
and when, after five in the evening, we had to 
lower our colours, the only flag on our side that 
still flew, the Intrepide had not a lower mast left 
standing. She had lost two-thirds of her men 
and was lying riddled with shot-holes ; the port- 
lids torn away; and with water pouring in below 
everywhere. Our honour, however, was saved ; 
our work had been done, our duty fulfilled to the 

" I passed the whole time of the battle on the 
forecastle, where I had charge of the head sails 


and of the musketry and the boarders. To lead 
my boarders was throughout my most ardent 
desire, which unhappily I could not realize. What 
took much of my attention was to prevent the 
masts and yards from coming down, and I was 
able to keep the foremast standing for a consider- 
able time, by means of which we were able to 
manoeuvre the ship to some extent. While the 
fighting was very hot, the British Orion crossed 
our bows in order to pour in a raking fire. I got 
my men ready to board, and pointing out to a 
midshipman her position and what I wanted to do, 
I sent him to the captain with a request to have 
the ship laid on board the Orion. I saw to the 
rest, and seeing the ardour of my men, I already 
imagined myself master of the British seventy- 
four and taking her into Cadiz with her colours 
under ours ! With keen anxiety I waited ; but 
there was no change in the Intrepide's course. 
Then I dashed off for the quarter-deck myself. On 
my way I found my midshipman lying flat on the 
deck, terrified at the sight of the Temeraire 
(? Britannia), which ship had come abreast of us 
within pistol-shot and was thundering into us from 
her lofty batteries. I treated my emissary as he 
deserved I gave him a hearty kick and then 
I hurried aft to explain my project personally to 
the captain. It was then, though, too late. The 
Orion swept forward across our bows, letting fly a 


murderous broadside and no second chance pre- 
sented itself. 

" At the moment I reached the poop the brave 
Infernet was brandishing a small curved sabre 
which struck off one of the pieces of wooden orna- 
mental work by the rail. The sword-blade went 
quite close to my face, and I said laughingly, ' Do 
you want to cut my head off, Captain ? ' ' No, cer- 
tainly not you, my friend,' was the reply, ' but that's 
what I mean to do to the first man who speaks to 
me of surrender.' Near by was a gallant colonel 
of infantry, who had distinguished himself at 
Marengo. He was terribly perturbed at the broad- 
side from the Temeraire (? Britannia). In vain 
he tried to dodge and shelter behind the stalwart 
form of the captain, who at length saw what he 
was doing. * Ah, Colonel,' called out the captain, 
* do you think I am sheathed in metal then ? ' In 
spite of the gravity of the moment we could not 
keep from laughing. 

" But by now, indeed, the decks had been almost 
swept clear; our guns were disabled, and the 
batteries heaped up with dead and dying. It was 
impossible to keep up a resistance which meant 
the doom of what remained of our brave ship's 
company, and ourselves, without the means of 
striking back and inflicting harm on the enemy. 
Our flag was hauled down. It had been for some 
time the last flag to fly in our part of the battle, 


and I believe after us no other French or Spanish 
ship maintained resistance." 1 

This is an extract from Captain Infernet's own 
report to Admiral Villeneuve, drawn up in Eng- 
land and forwarded later to the Minister of Marine 
in Paris : 

" Je fus coupe par deux vaisseaux ennemis, qui 
commencerent a me cannoner. Je les approchais 
et a 2 heures je commen9ai a les combattre de tres 
pres. Demi-heure apres je fus combattu par trois 
et de tres pres ; a 3 heures par quatre ; a un quart 
par cinq. Je faisais feu des deux bords et meme 
des canons de retraite, le combat etait des plus 

1 Lieutenant Gicquel des Touches describes also how he was sent 
to England and interned with Admiral Dumanoir and a number of 
the French Trafalgar officers at Tiverton in Devonshire ' ' une petite 
ville, assez plaisante mais qui me parut singulierement monotone." 
He says everybody was kind and hospitable to them, and some even 
offered to help them to escape. In particular he mentions a young 
Tiverton lady, "une jeune et jolie mees," who offered to escape with 
him if he would marry her on getting to France. He refused the 
tempting offer with difficulty, he says, and waited six years till he was 
regularly exchanged through the good offices of Lord Northesk of the 
"Britannia" at Trafalgar. The house where Admiral Dumanoir 
lodged at Tiverton used to be pointed out, as well as the walk in the 
neighbourhood, " Frenchman's mile," where the admiral and his 
brother officers interned with him at Tiverton were accustomed to take 
their daily " constitutional. " Ordinarily the only restrictions on their 
liberty in this regard were that they had to be within the turnpike 
gates by 8 p.m. in the summer time and four in the winter, when the 
warning bell was rung from St. George's Church. It was from 
Tiverton that Admiral Dumanoir took the peculiar step, for a prisoner 
of war, of writing a letter to the " Times " to protest against certain 
reflections on his conduct in the battle that had appeared in the papers, 
and gave his own version of the part he had played at Trafalgar, quoted 
on another page. 


opiniatres. . . . Plus tard, je fus entoure' par sept 
vaisseaux, qui tous me faisaient feu dessus." a 

" I cannot give too high praise," wrote Admiral 
Villeneuve from England to the Minister of 
Marine, " to the courage that the officers and crew 
of the Intrepide displayed in so unequal a contest, 
and above all to the perseverance of the captain, 
who, undoubtedly foreseeing for some time the 
issue of the battle, still held out until his ship was 
reduced to the very last extremity." 

The story of the " Intrepide's " doings at Trafal- 
gar grew as time went on, until there had come 
into existence quite a legend about the ship, almost 
as touching in its way as that of Barrere's story of 
the last moments of the " Vengeur " and "its glori- 
ous suicidal sinking." Infernet, it was popularly 
reported in France, after firing until his ship was 
plainly on the point of going down under the feet 
of the men at the guns, heroically sent off all the 
wounded in the boats, and then, when he could do 
no more, as the ship was actually foundering, he 
saved himself by swimming on board an English 
ship, with his son, a boy, seated on his shoulders. 
The " Intrepide," as a fact, was one of the prizes 
disposed of during the storm after the battle. She 
was set on fire and destroyed by Collingwood's 
order, a week after the battle. 

1 Archives de la Marine. BB 4 , 237 : Rapport du Cap 6 Infernet ; 
3 Bruin. An 14. 


A British officer in the " Conqueror " (Lieu- 
tenant Humphrey Le Fleming Senhouse), in a 
letter home, thus testifies to the stubborn way in 
which the " Intrepide " was fought : " Her captain 
surrendered after one of the most gallant defences 
I ever witnessed. The Frenchman's name was 
Infernet, a member of the Legion of Honour, and it 
deserves to be recorded in the memory of those 
who admire true heroism. The Intrepide was the 
last ship that struck her colours, about half-past 
five (sic)" 

Captain Infernet, with his son, a midshipman 
ten years old, was taken on board the " Orion," 
where every kindness and courtesy possible, and 
the due of so brave and gallant an officer, was 
shown him. This is what Captain Codrington said 
of him, writing home to his wife, whom he spe- 
cially asked to go and see Infernet on his reaching 
England, and do all she could for him while a 
prisoner of war (which she did, also having Infernet 
over to stay as an honoured guest at her husband's 
house) : 

" He is much like us in his open manner, is a 
good sailor, and I have no doubt a good officer, 
has more delicacy in his conduct, although, per- 
haps, boisterous in his manner, than any French- 
man I have before met with : and endeavours to 


make himself agreeable to all in the ship. He 
fought most stoutly, and had I not had the 
advantage over him of position and a ready fire 
whilst he was engaged with others, we should not 
have escaped as well as we did." 

Captain Infernet came on board the " Orion " 
with only the clothes he stood in. All else was lost 
in the subsequent destruction of the " Intrepide." 
Codrington advanced him 100 on leaving the 
" Orion " ; and at the same time another British 
captain, Ben Hallowell, of the "Tigre," did the 
same, sending Infernet the money as a personal gift, 
together with a trunk full of shirts and clothing 
"in acknowledgement of the great courtesy and 
kindness that he himself had received from 
Admiral Gantheaume and his officers, when a 

This was the more chivalrous, as Hallowell 
was one of the squadron that Nelson had 
sent to Gibraltar before Trafalgar, causing them 
just to miss the battle, to their life-long regret. 

Wrote Mrs. Codrington of Captain Hallowell's 
action to a friend : " I think nothing of Captain 
C's having given him an order to the same 
amount, because he was his own conquered op- 
ponent ; but I do think it very fine in a man not 
even present in the action." 

Like so many others of the better men of the 


Napoleonic navy, Infernet was shelved without 
promotion and pensioned off in 1814, on the 
restoration of the Bourbon regime in France. 1 

1 A personal note about the captain of the " Intrepide " may, in 
conclusion, be added to what has been already said of "I'lntrepide 
Inferuet." Just as Lucas of the " Redoutable," with his slight 
figure and four feet nine inches of height, was the smallest man in 
the Etat Major of the French Fleet, so Infernet was about the biggest. 
One who knew him described him as "grand comme un tambour- 
major et gros comme un ci-devant prieur des Benedictines. '' He 
stood five feet ten in his socks. A Provencal by birth he was born 
near Toulon and of very humble parentage, he began his naval life 
as a cabin boy, and powder-monkey when wanted. He was rough and 
quite uneducated, resembling in that his cousin Massena and most of 
the other chiefs of the day. His speech was the broadest Prove^al : 
" Infernet parle mal, mais il se bat tres bien," a brother officer once 
said of him. 



"TTA de Bon Cceur" Cosmao's smart "Pluton" 
* did well at Trafalgar and had better luck 
than most of her consorts. The " Pluton" lost 280 
men out of 600, and by three o'clock was so full of 
shot-holes between wind and water, that, with all 
her pumps going, she made upwards of four feet 
of water an hour. Cosmao Kerjulien, in spite of 
that, fought his ship unflinchingly, He held his 
own and helped to rescue Admiral Gravina's flag- 
ship when threatened by the approach of a number 
of British ships ; after which he made his way, 
with the eleven ships that got off in that direction, 
safely to Cadiz. 


At the outset, according to the French official 
account of the battle, Cosmao beat back a British 
80-gun ship (apparently the "Mars"), which was 
trying to break the line at that point. Then, as 



the British vessel moved on to make a passage 
between the "Monarca" and the "Fougueux," 
where there was a wide gap, Cosmao also pushed 
the " Pluton " ahead. Getting there first, he again 
faced the " Mars," and prevented her from getting 
through. Coming now into close action with that 
ship, for upwards of three-quarters of an hour the 
" Pluton " had a hot fight with the " Mars," until a 
second British ship, believed to be the three-decker 
" Prince," came on the scene. For some time 
after that Cosmao held his own, and then a third 
British vessel, the 80-gun ship " Tonnant," joined 
in. The "Mars" on that moved off, with her 
fore and main topmasts shot away, and soon after- 
wards the three-decker passed on, as did also 
the "Tonnant." The "Pluton" next drifted slowly 
along the firing line, having desultory encounters 
with various British ships, until after three o'clock. 
Cosmao then, seeing that the day had been lost, 
and that Gravina was doing his best to rally what 
ships were at hand for a retreat towards Cadiz, 
as senior French captain in that quarter, hoisted 
the signal for all French ships that could do so, to 
disengage and follow his movements. 

The " Pluton " accompanied Gravina out of the 
battle, and two days later headed the forlorn-hope 
sortie that was attempted with the idea of re- 
covering some of the prizes. For his day's work 
at Trafalgar, and on the 23rd, Napoleon promoted 
Cosmao specially to rear-admiral, a promotion 


well won. The King of Spain at the same time 
nominated him a Grandee of the First Class. 

"L'Aigle" went into action with 620 men at quar- 
ters. She came out dismasted and a British prize, 
with barely enough men left to man the pumps. 
The casualties included Captain Gourrege, mortally 
wounded ; and Second-Captain Tempie and three 
lieutenants killed. Out of ten junior officers, nine 
were killed. 

The " Aigle's " fight at Trafalgar was one of the 
finest on the side of the Combined Fleet, and she 
only gave in when further defence on her part was 
hopeless, and the fortune of the day had declared 
itself against her consorts all round. First of all, 
at the outset, after a sharp exchange of broad- 
sides with the "Belleisle," the "Aigle" came to 
close quarters with the " Bellerophon " the famous 
" Billy Ruff 'n " of song and story as tough an 
antagonist, perhaps, as she could have found that 
day. The " Bellerophon's " men went in action at 
Trafalgar, as one of her officers relates, with " Vic- 
tory or Death " chalked on their guns, and it was 
of them that another officer wrote home on the 
night before the battle : " No man can be a coward 
aboard the Billy Ruff 5 n." Running alongside the 
" Bellerophon " in the smoke, the " Aigle's " main- 
yard locked fast with the foreyard of the " Bellero- 
phon " on the starboard side. The fight was 


desperately severe, although the " Bellerophon's " 
better gunnery before long asserted itself, and got 
the better of that of the Frenchmen. This was in 
spite of the fact that the " Bellerophon," on her 
other side, on the port bow and quarter, was all 
the time keeping up a brisk cannonade with three 
ships of the enemy. Then the " Aigle's " captain 
turned his thoughts to a desperate attempt with 
boarding-pikes and hand-grenades. Captain Gour- 
rege, finding his gunnery mastered, shut down 
his ports, and crammed his upper deck, bulwarks, 
and the lower shrouds, with the soldiers on board 
and his seamen musketeers. " L'Aigle," described 
a midshipman of the " Bellerophon," " twice at- 
tempted to board us, and hove several hand- 
grenades into our lower deck, which burst and 
wounded several of our people most dreadfully. 1 
She likewise set fire to our fore chains. Our fire 
was so hot, that we soon drove them from the 
lower deck, after which our people took the coins 
out, and elevated their guns so as to tear her 
decks and sides to pieces. . . . Her starboard quar- 
ter was entirely beaten in." 

1 "One of these grenades/' says the "Bellerophon's" first lieu- 
tenant, "in its explosion had blown off the scuttle of the gunner's 
storeroom, setting fire to the storeroom, and forcing open the door 
into the magazine passage. Most providentially this door was so placed 
.... that the same blast that blew open the storeroom door, shut to 
the door of the magazine ; otherwise we must all in both ships in- 
evitably have been blown up together." The gunner, with a few hands 
from the lower deck, was fortunately able to get the fire under before 
it had spread far. 


Breaking away from, the " Bellerophon," under 
a terrific raking fire from that ship, and very 
seriously damaged, the " Aigle " had a short passing 
fight with the " Revenge." It was the outcome of 
a gallant attempt by Captain Gourrege to bar 
the way between the " Revenge " and Admiral 
Gravina's flagship. The " Revenge " ran into the 
"Aigle," being entangled with her for a short 
space, and then, with two tremendous broadsides 
in rapid succession, shook herself clear, and passed 
on elsewhere. The "Aigle" was by now practi- 
cally drifting ; her crippled state prevented her 
from making sail. 

A third opponent then came up, the " Defiance." 
" L'Aigle," says a memoir of Sir Philip Durham, 
the captain of the " Defiance," " appeared to have 
been severely handled by some other ship. She 
was, however, quite ready for action, and de- 
fended herself most gallantly for some time." 

" At about 3 p.m.," says James, 1 " the Defiance 
ran alongside of the Aigle, lashed the latter to her- 
self, boarded her with little resistance, got posses- 
sion of the poop and quarter-deck, hauled down 
the French colours, and hoisted the English in 
their stead ; when suddenly, so destructive a fire of 
musketry was opened upon the boarders from the 
forecastle, waist, and tops of the Aigle, that the 
British, before they had been well five minutes in 
possession of their prize, were glad to quit her 

1 " Naval History/' vol. Ill, p. 440. 

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and escape back to their ship. As soon as the 
lashings were cut loose, the Defiance sheered off 
to half pistol-shot distance, and there kept up so 
well-maintained a cannonade, that in less than 
twenty-five minutes the Aigle, the fire from whose 
great guns had been nobly maintained, was 
presently taken quiet possession of. 1 . . . Her hull 
was pierced in every direction. . . . Her loss 
amounted to about 270 in killed and wounded, in- 
cluding several of her officers. According to the 
official return, Captain Gourrege and another 
officer were mortally wounded, and four officers 
were killed. Three officers were wounded." 

In the course of the fight a fine display of chival- 
rous feeling was shown by those in the French 
ship, as related in a memoir of Sir John Franklin, 
the Arctic explorer, who was signal midship- 
man in the " Bellerophon." " Of some forty per- 
sons stationed with Mr. Franklin on the poop, 
not more than eight escaped unhurt. Among the 

1 In reply to a paragraph in a London newspaper, that " Captain 
Blackwood of the Euryalus had delivered to the Lords of the Admi- 
ralty the Jack, etc., of the French ship 1'Aigle," an officer of the 
''Defiance" wrote to the "Hampshire Telegraph" on the 16th of 
December, 1806, as follows : 

" I beg to inform you that FAigle struck to the Defiance : that 
Lieutenant Simons most gallantly boarded her, hauled down her 
colours which he brought, partly lashed round his body, into this 
ship, and then returned to 1'Aigle in aid of the boarders, and was 
unfortunately shot on her poop. . . . The Ensign, Jack, and Pendant 
of 1'Aigle were sent to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty by 
Captain Durham." 


fortunate few was a veteran sailor, named Chris- 
topher Beaty, yeoman of the signals. Seeing the 
ensign shot away a third time, he mounted the 
mizen-rigging with the largest Union Jack he 
could lay his hands upon, deliberately stopped the 
four corners of it with as much spread as possible 
to the shrouds, and regained the deck unhurt. The 
French riflemen in the tops and on the poop of 
1'Aigle, seeing what he was about, and seem- 
ingly in admiration of such daring conduct, sus- 
pended their fire for the few seconds that he 
remained aloft ; this forbearance on the part of the 
enemy being the more noble, as they had previously 
picked off every man that appeared before the 
Bellerophon's mizen-mast." On our side, it may 
be said that the " V.C." has been given for less 
than what Christopher Beaty did at Trafalgar. 

The French " Swiftsure," when she surrendered, 
was unmanageable, had five feet of water in the 
hold, and two of her three masts were down. Two 
hundred and fifty-five officers and men were hors 
de combat. 


The " Berwick," in like manner, lost over two 
hundred and fifty of her company including 
the captain, killed on his quarter-deck before her 
colours came down. On her being taken posses- 
sion of, the British officer sent on board " counted 


upon her decks and in her cockpit and tiers 51 
dead bodies, including that of her gallant captain, 
M. Camas; and the wounded of the Berwick, 
according to the report of her few surviving 
officers, amounted to nearly 200 : her loss in officers 
was very severe, the quarter-deck having been 
thrice cleared." 

This story is taken from a memoir of Captain 
Israel Pellew, the captain of H.M.S. " Conqueror," 
though the French ship of whose surrender it is 
recorded has not been identified. 

" The remains of the most splendid and power- 
ful fleet ever drawn up in a line of battle were 
now making their escape to Cadiz, and the Con- 
queror hauled across the course of one of them 
which had only her foresail set. Her captain 
stood upon the poop, holding the lower corner of 
a small French jack, while he pinned the upper 
with his sword to the stump of the mizen-mast. 
She fired two or three guns, probably to provoke 
a return, which might spare the discredit of a tame 
surrender. The Conqueror's broadside was ready ; 
but Captain Pellew exclaimed, ' Don't hurt the 
brave fellow ; fire a single shot across his bow.' 
Her captain immediately lowered his sword, thus 
dropping the colours, and, taking off his hat, bowed 
his surrender." 


Another officer of the " Conqueror " seems to 
refer to the same French ship, dealing apparently 
with an incident just before the act of surrender. 
It is equally creditable to both sides. " On the 
stump of the mainmast of one of the enemy's 
ships which she (the Conqueror) had engaged and 
dismasted, a man was seen most fearlessly occupied 
in placing the tricoloured flag. Lieutenant Toole 
had three times raised a musquet to his shoulder 
and levelled it, but a compassionate and generous 
feeling forbade him to execute his threat, and the 
gallant fellow was suffered to live, to share the fate 
of his, soon after, captured companions." 

[Three reports by Captain Cosmao Kerjulien on 
the proceedings of the " Pluton " at Trafalgar are 
extant in the archives of the Ministry of Marine 
in Paris, besides one by Captain Villemadrin of 
the French " Swiftsure," and one on the surrender 
of the " Aigle " by the senior surviving officer of 
that ship, Lieutenant Asmus Classen. There are 
also extant reports it has not been necessary to 
utilize from other officers, including one from 
Captain Maistral of the " Neptune," and three 
from Captain Epron of the "Argonaute," enclosing 
a rather curious "Declaration" by the midship- 
men of his ship.] 



ANOTHER very interesting account of Trafal- 
-** gar from the French side was found not very 
long ago among some manuscript memoirs left 
by an old officer of Napoleon s navy, Captain 
Pierre Servaux, of the Marine Artillery. He was 
at Trafalgar as master-at-arms of the " Fougueux," 
the ship that fired the first shot in the battle. 
The " Fougueux " had her station just astern of 
the point at which Collingwood broke through. 
By something of a coincidence, this was a corre- 
sponding position to that the " Redoutable " occu- 
pied at the point where Nelson made his attack. 
Also, as things turned out, both the " Fougueux " 
and the " Redoutable " surrendered to, and were 
taken possession of by, the British " Temeraire." 

Here is Captain Servaux 's story a straightfor- 
ward enough one : 

"Daybreak on October 21st found the French 
Fleet in almost the same situation that it had been 
in on the evening before. Several of our ships, 

however, had meanwhile drifted off to leeward, 



among others a Spanish line-of-battle which had 
got almost a league out of her proper station. 
The admiral signalled now to form line of battle 
on that ship ; but even then we did not in the end 
obtain a much better result. The English Fleet, 
on the other hand, who were favoured by a light 
breeze, worked together in much better order. 
They had, too, the advantage of being to wind- 
ward. With the greatest ease they formed them- 
selves into two columns, the one having at its 
head the line-of-battle ship Victory, of 110 guns, 
on board which was Admiral Nelson ; the other 
following the lead of the Royal Sovereign (Prince 
Souverain the writer calls the ship), also of 110 
guns, on board which was Admiral Collingwood. 
Then the English Fleet came on before the wind 
and headed to break the line which had been 
formed in so irregular a manner by the French 
and Spanish ships. We for our part, mostly, left 
too great intervals between each ship and its leader 
in the column. 

" The Fougueux, on board which I was master- 
at-arms, had for her immediate leader (chef defile) 
the Spanish man-of-war Santa Ana, of 110 guns. 
By bad handling that ship left a gap of at least a 
cable across, between herself and the next astern, 
ourselves ; thus offering the enemy an easy passage 
through. It was just on this point that Admiral 
Collingwood directed his attack, as he advanced to 
break the line. It necessarily resulted that he 


crossed right in front of our bows, and so our first 
antagonist was Admiral Collingwood. 1 

" At a quarter past twelve o'clock the Fougueux, 
a man-of-war of seventy-four guns, fired the first 
gun in the fleet. As she did so she hoisted her 
colours. She continued her cannonade, firing on 
the English flagship, which was a greatly superior 
vessel in size, height, guns and the number of 
the crew. Her main-deck and upper-deck guns, 
in fact, could fire right down on to our decks, and 
in that way all our upper-deck men employed in 
working the ship, and the infantry marksmen 
posted on the gangways, were without cover and 
entirely exposed. We had also, according to our 
bad habit in the French Navy, fired away over a 
hundred rounds from our big guns at long range 
before the English ship had practically snapped a 
gun lock. It was, indeed, not until we found 
ourselves side by side and yardarm to yardarm 
with the English flagship that she fired at all. 
Then she gave us a broadside from five and fifty 
guns and carronades, hurtling forth a storm of 
cannon balls, big and small, and musket-shot. 

1 ''The Fougueux, the ship astern of the Santa Ana, had closed 
up, with the intention of preventing the Royal Sovereign from 
going through the line, and when Admiral Collingwood ohserved it, 
he desired Captain Rotheram to steer immediately for the French- 
man and carry away his bowsprit. To avoid this, the Fougueux 
backed her main topsail, and suffered the Royal Sovereign to pass, 
at the same time beginning her fire, when the admiral ordered a 
gun to be occasionally fired at her, to cover his ship with smoke/' 
" Correspondence and Memoirs of Lord Collingwood," G. L. Newnham 
Collingwood, p. 126. 


"I thought the Fougueux was shattered to 
pieces pulverized. The storm of projectiles that 
hurled themselves against and through the hull on 
the port side made the ship heel to starboard. 
Most of the sails and the rigging were cut to 
pieces, while the upper deck was swept clear of 
the greater number of the seamen working there, 
and of the soldier sharpshooters. Our gun-decks 
below had, however, suffered less severely. There, 
not more than thirty men in all were put Jiors de 
combat. This preliminary greeting, rough and 
brutal as it was, did not dishearten our men. A 
well-maintained fire showed the Englishmen that 
we too had guns and could use them. 

" The English ship having come up to us, made 
to break the line between us and the Santa Ana. 
The Spanish ship, in fact, during our action with 
the English leader, had not fired a single shot. 
She had stolidly kept on and continued her 
course without shortening sail, thus giving an easy 
passage through to the enemy. After that, how- 
ever, by the smart handling of our captain, we 
managed to come within our proper distance of 
her; as a fact, indeed, almost with our bow- 
sprit over his poop. By this manoeuvre we had 
the enemy's ship on the port quarter in such a 
way that whilst we could only receive a few shots 
from their stern guns, they were exposed to our 
whole broadside, raking the enemy, end-on, along 
all his decks. We soon saw the English vessel's 


J ^ 
"^ cs 

p c 



mizen-mast go by the board, and then her rudder 
and steering gear were damaged, making the ship 
unmanageable. Her sails flapped loose in the 
wind, and her sheets and running rigging were cut 
to pieces by our hail of shot. 
For some time she ceased 
firing. We, for our part, 
now redoubled our efforts 
and we next saw her main- 
topmast come down. At 
that moment the English 
ship hoisted two signal flags 
at the foremast. It made 
us think that she was call- 
ing for help. And we were 
not wrong. After a very 
little time two fresh English 
men-of-war came up and 
began to attack us ; the one 
on the starboard quarter, 
the other at the stern. 
Under their fire, we held 
out for more than an hour, 
but they almost over- 
powered us with their 
terrible storm of round 
shot and a fusillade of bullets which carried death 
among our men. 

" Our mizen-mast was now shot by the board, 
while our spars were shot from the masts and were 



lying in wreckage along the sides of the ship. 
Then, too, fire broke out in the stern walk and the 
poop. We tried our best, in spite of the hail of 
shot, to put the fire out, and with hatchets to cut 
adrift the mass of wrecked top-hamper from the 
fallen masts and yards and cordage. It lay along 
the ship's sides by the gun-tiers and was en- 
dangering the ship and exposing her to the most 
imminent risk of destruction by fire. At this 
moment the captain ordered me to climb outboard 
and see if the wreckage of the mainsail was 
not in danger of being set on fire from the main- 
deck guns. I obeyed ; but as I clambered from the 
gangway into the chains one of the enemy fired 
her whole starboard broadside. The din and 
concussion were fearful ; so tremendous that I 
almost fell headlong into the sea. Blood gushed 
from my nose and ears, but it did not prevent my 
carrying out my duty. Then our mainmast fell. 
Happily it was shot through some ten or twelve 
feet above the deck and fell over to port. At 
once we cut away the shrouds to starboard ; but it 
was with great difficulty that in the end we were 
able to clear ourselves. 

"Our fire was well maintained all this time: 
though the great superiority of the heavy guns of 
the English ships, and their very advantageous 
position, decimated our men in a fearful manner. 
More than half the crew had by this been struck 
down, killed or wounded. Then, at length, our last 


remaining mast went; falling forward on to the 
fore part of the ship. Our flag, however, was still 
flying. It was the only thing left above the deck. 
All the same, neither our brave captain, nor a 
single one of our men, had a thought of lowering it. 
"Now, however, yet another English ship, the 
Te'meraire, of 100 guns, came down to attack us. 
Borne down alongside of us with the current, she 
fell on board us. At once a broadside burst from 
her upper-deck guns and main battery, with a hot 
small-arms fusillade, fired right down into us. It 
swept our decks clear. Even then, though, our men 
rallied. With cries of * a 1'abordage ! ' repeated 
all over the ship, some sixty to eighty of them 
swarmed up on deck, armed with sabres and 
axes. But the huge English three-decker towered 
high above the Fougueux, and they fired down on 
us as they pleased with their musketry, until, at 
length, they themselves boarded us. From two 
to three hundred of them suddenly rushed on board 
us, entering the ship from their chains and main- 
deck ports. Our captain fell dead, shot through 
the heart with a musket bullet. The few men 
who were left could make no resistance in the face 
of numbers. Resistance was out of the question, 
while still the enemy's murderous fire from the 
gangways continued. We were obliged to give 
back and yield, though we defended the decks port 
by port. So the Fougueux fell into the power of 
the English. 


" Yet we had in the end the proud consolation of 
not hauling down our own colours. The doing 
that we left to the enemy, who carried the colours 
off after they had taken possession of the ship. 
Thus ended one of the most murderous of battles. 
For nearly four hours we had not ceased firing 
once, and at the same time we had stood up against 
four ships, each one of them more powerful at all 
points than our Fougueux. Indeed, the Fougueux 
was a very weakly built vessel. We lost in the 
combat our captain, more than half the ship's com- 
pany, two lieutenants, three mates, two midship- 
men, and three warrant officers." 1 

[Two official reports on the doings and fate 
of the " Fougueux " at Trafalgar, both by Second- 
Captain Bazin of that ship, are in existence among 
the archives of the Ministry of Marine in Paris, 
dated respectively 21st and 27th Brumaire, 
An 14.] 

1 According to the returns at the Ministry of Marine in Paris, the 
" Fougueux " had the captain and six lieutenants and army officers 
killed and four wounded. 



TASTLY among the French ships we have the 
-*-^ catastrophe of the French "Achille." Coming 
into action about two o'clock, when the " Polyphe- 
mus " attacked her, she engaged in turn after that 
the "Defiance" and the " Swiftsure." Before three 
o'clock the " Achille's " captain had fallen and all 
the senior officers. Thenceforth the ship was fought 
by a sub-lieutenant, Enseigne de vaisseau Cau- 
chard. The gallant young fellow was doing well, 
and had just extricated the ship from her earlier 
opponents, when, between three and half-past, a 
bigger enemy still came up, the three-decker 
"Prince." By this time the "Achille" had lost 
over four hundred killed and wounded. Still, 
though, she fought on stubbornly ; until there was 
a sudden explosion in the arm-chest in the foretop. 
It caused a fire, which blazed up fiercely and could 
not be got under. The ship's fire-engine was 
found to have been smashed, and all that could 
be done was to cut the mast away and let it drop 
overboard. Efforts to do this were being made 
when a broadside from the " Prince," fired high, 



shot the mast in two. It was cut through half- 
way up ; causing the blazing top, with its sails and 
cordage, to fall, a flaming mass, on the boats and 
spars stowed inboard on the booms in the waist. 
These took fire at once, and in a few minutes 
the whole ship was ablaze. On that, seeing the 
French ship hopelessly on fire, and her men 
beginning to jump overboard, the " Prince " ceased 
action, and lowered boats to rescue as many men 
as possible. Other ships near by did the same, and 
the two little vessels "Pickle" and "Entrepren- 
ante " ran boldly in as near as they could, regard- 
less of shotted guns on board the blazing ship, 
which went off as the heat reached them. From 
two to three hundred men were rescued in all 
before half-past five, just about sunset, when the 
remains of the "Achille" 1 blew up. By then 
fighting had ceased everywhere for nearly half an 
hour. With the blowing up of the " Achille " the 
battle of Trafalgar came to its end. 

A British officer of the " Defence " who was 
watching the burning of the ill-fated " Achille," 
and saw her blow up, thus describes the final 
scene : " It was a sight the most awful and grand 
that can be conceived. In a moment the hull burst 

1 "The Achille," says Lieutenant Paul Harris Nicolas, of the 
' ' Belleisle's " marines, ' ' burnt to the water's edge, with the tricolour 
still displayed, about a mile from us, and our tenders and boats were 
using every effort to save the brave fellows who had so gloriously 
defended her ; but only two hundred and fifty were rescued when she 
blew up with a tremendous explosion." 


into a cloud of smoke and fire. A column of vivid 
flame shot up to an enormous height in the atmo- 
sphere and terminated by expanding into an im- 
mense globe, representing, for a few seconds, a 
prodigious tree in flames, speckled with many dark 
spots, which the pieces of timber and bodies of 
men occasioned while they were suspended in the 

A very remarkable incident is on record in con- 
nexion with the burning of the " Achille." 

One of those rescued by the British boats 
was a young Frenchwoman. The story of her 
extraordinary escape is thus told in the words of a 
lieutenant of the " Revenge," on board which ship 
the woman was taken : 

"Towards the conclusion of the battle the 
French 80-gun ship Achille, after surrendering, 
caught fire on the booms. The poor fellows be- 
longing to her, as the only chance of saving their 
lives, leaped overboard, having first stripped off 
their clothes, that they might be the better able to 
swim to any pieces of floating wreck or to the 
boats of the ships sent by those nearest at hand to 
their rescue. As the boats filled, they proceeded 
to the Pickle schooner, and, after discharging their 
freight into that vessel, returned for more. The 
schooner was soon crowded to excess, and, there- 
fore, transferred the poor shivering wretches to 
any of the large ships near her. The Revenge, to 


which ship I belonged, received nearly a hundred 
of the number, some of whom had been picked up 
by our own boats, Many of them were badly 
wounded, and all naked. No time was lost for 
providing for the latter want, as the purser was 
ordered immediately to issue to each man a com- 
plete suit of clothes. 

" On the morning after the action I had charge 
of the deck, the other officers and crew being at 
breakfast, when another boat load of these poor 
prisoners of war came alongside, all of whom, with 
one exception, were in the costume of Adam. The 
exception I refer to was apparently a youth, but 
clothed in an old jacket and trousers, with a dingy 
handkerchief tied round the head, and exhibiting 
a face begrimed with smoke and dirt, without 
shoes, stockings, or shirt, and looking the picture 
of misery and despair. The appearance of this 
young person at once attracted my attention, and 
on asking some questions on the subject, I was 
answered that the prisoner was a woman. It was 
sufficient to know this, and I lost no time in intro- 
ducing her to my messmates, as a female requiring 
their compassionate attention. The poor creature 
was almost famishing with hunger, having tasted 
nothing for four-and-twenty hours, consequently 
she required no persuasion to partake of the break- 
fast upon the table. I then gave her up my cabin, 
for by this time the bulk-head had been replaced, 
and made a collection of all the articles which 


could be procured to enable her to complete a 
more suitable wardrobe. One of the lieutenants 
gave her a piece of sprigged blue muslin, which he 
had obtained from a Spanish prize, and two new 
checked shirts were supplied by the purser ; these, 
with a purser's blanket, and my ditty bag, which 
contained needles, thread, etc., being placed at her 
disposal, she, in a short time, appeared in a very 
different, and much more becoming, costume. 
Being a dressmaker, she had made herself a sort of 
a jacket, after the Flemish fashion, and the purser's 
shirts she had transformed into an outer petticoat ; 
she had a silk handkerchief tastily tied over her 
head, and another thrown round her shoulders ; 
white stockings and a pair of the chaplain's shoes 
were on her feet, and, altogether, our guest, which 
we unanimously voted her, appeared a very in- 
teresting young woman. 

" ' Jeannette,' which was the only name by which 
I ever knew her, thus related to me the circum- 
stances. She said she was stationed during the 
action in the passage of the fore-magazine, to 
assist in handing up the powder, which employ- 
ment lasted till the surrender of the ship. When 
the firing ceased, she ascended to the lower deck, 
and endeavoured to get up to the main deck, to 
search for her husband, but the ladders having 
been all removed, or shot away, she found this 
impracticable ; and just at this time an alarm of 
fire spread through the ship, so that she could get 


no assistance. The fire originated upon the upper 
deck, and gradually burnt downwards. Her feel- 
ings upon this occasion cannot be described : but 
death from all quarters stared her in the face. The 
fire, which soon burnt fiercely, precluded the possi- 
bility of her escaping by moving from where she 
was, and no friendly counsellor was by with whom 
to advise. She remained wandering to and fro 
upon the lower deck, among the mangled corses 
of the dying and the slain, until the guns from the 
main deck actually fell through the burnt planks. 
Her only refuge, then, was the sea, and the poor 
creature scrambled out of the gun-room port, and, 
by the help of the rudder chains, reached the back 
of the rudder, where she remained for some time, 
praying that the ship might blow up, and thus put 
a period to her misery, At length the lead which 
lined the rudder-trunk began to melt, and to fall 
upon her, and her only means of avoiding this was 
to leap overboard. Having, therefore, divested 
herself of her clothes, she soon found herself 
struggling with the waves, and providentially find- 
ing a piece of cork, she was enabled to escape from 
the burning mass. A man, shortly afterwards, 
swam near her, and, observing her distress, brought 
her a piece of plank, about six feet in length, 
which, being placed under her arms, supported her 
until a boat approached to her rescue. The time 
she was thus in the water she told me was about 
two hours, but probably the disagreeableness and 


peril of her situation made a much shorter space 
of time appear of that duration. The boat which 
picked her up, I have heard, was the Belleisle's, but 
her sex was no sooner made known than the men, 
whose hearts were formed of the right stuff, 
quickly supplied her with the articles of attire in 
which she first made my acquaintance. One 
supplied her with trowsers, another stripped off 
his jacket, and threw it over her, and a third 
supplied her with a handkerchief. She was much 
burnt about the neck, shoulders, and legs, by the 
molten lead, and when she reached the Pickle was 
more dead than alive. A story so wonderful and 
pitiful could not fail to enlist, on her behalf, the 
best feelings of human nature, and it was, there- 
fore, not praiseworthy, but only natural, that we 
extended towards her that humane attention which 
her situation demanded. I caused a canvas screen 
berth to be made for her, to hang outside the ward- 
room door, opposite to where the sentry was 
stationed, and I placed my cabin at her disposal 
for her dressing-room. 

" Although placed in a position of unlooked-for 
comfort, Jeannette was scarcely less miserable ; 
the fate of her husband was unknown to her. She 
had not seen him since the commencement of the 
battle, and he was perhaps killed, or had perished 
in the conflagration. Still, the worst was unknown 
to her, and a possibility existed that he was yet 
alive. All her enquiries were, however, unattended 


with success, for several days, during which I was 
so much busied in securing the ship's masts, and in 
looking after the ship in the gales which we had to 
encounter, that I had no time to attend to my 
protegee. It was on about the fourth day of her 
sojourn that she came to me in the greatest 
possible ecstacy and told me that she had found 
her husband, who was on board among the 
prisoners, and unhurt. She soon afterwards brought 
him to me, and in the most grateful terms and 
manner returned her thanks for the attentions 
she had received. After this, Jeannette declined 
coming to the ward-room, from the very proper 
feeling that her husband could not be admitted to 
the same privileges. On our arrival at Gibraltar, 
all our prisoners were landed by order of the 
Port- Admiral, Sir John Knight, at the Neutral 
Ground, but under a mistake, as the Spanish 
prisoners only should have been landed there. 
Her dress, though rather odd, was not unbecom- 
ing, and we all considered her a fine woman. On 
leaving the ship, most, if not all of us, gave her a 
dollar, and she expressed her thanks as well as she 
was able, and assured us that the name of our ship 
would always be remembered by her with the 
warmest gratitude." 1 

1 Captain Moorsom, of the f ' Revenge," in a private letter relates 
the adventure of Jeannette ; as also does one of the sailors of the 
" Revenge," who published his experiences at the battle in a small 


Another French woman from the "Achille," 
was, it is stated, rescued by the " Britannia." So 
Second-Lieutenant Halloran, of the " Britannia's " 
marines, records in his journal : 

"Among the prisoners brought on board from 
one of the ships was a man in the costume and 
character of a Harlequin, pressed, we believe, off 
the stage the evening previous to the battle, with- 
out having time to change. There was also a 
poor woman saved from the Achille through the 
gun-room port as she blew up. This poor creature 
was brought on board with scarcely any covering, 
and our senior subaltern of marines, Lieutenant 
Jackson, gave her a large cotton dressing-gown 
for clothing. There was also among the prisoners 
two Turks ; the former had both legs amputated, 
and both men died the same night." 

[The "Achille " was one of the newest and finest 
seventy-fours in Napoleon's navy. A remarkably 
fine model of her, fully masted and rigged and 
complete in every detail, is on view in the Musee 
de la Marine at the Louvre, with a statement 
attached mentioning her fate at Trafalgar. 

Three reports on the disaster to the "Achille," 
from survivors on board, are among the archives 
of the Ministry of Marine ; one from Lieutenant 
Chamard, and two from Midshipmen Quiots and 
La Chasse.] 


NOT a single one of the five French line-of-battle 
ships that escaped with Admiral Gravina into 
Cadiz, after Trafalgar, or of the four fugitives that 
went off with Admiral Dumanoir, saw a home 
port again. The French ships that got into Cadiz 
remained blockaded there until June, 1808. On 
Spain throwing off the yoke of Napoleon, they 
surrendered at discretion to their quondam allies, 
and were added to the Spanish Navy. Dumanoir's 
four, after taking a wide sweep westward to avoid 
any outlying British ships, were intercepted and 
captured bodily off Cape Finisterre, a fortnight 
after Trafalgar, by Sir Richard Strachan and a 
squadron from the Channel Fleet. 1 

One of the four ships was in service until the 

1 Commodore Sir Richard Strachan acquired for himself at the 
same time a sobriquet which stuck to him to the end of his days in 
the Navy of "the delighted Sir Dicky." That was due to the occur- 
rence in Commodore Strachan's official despatch to the Admiralty on 
the event after describing how he first got the news of the enemy's 
proximity of the somewhat unusual expression for an official com- 
munication : " We were delighted." 



spring of last year as a naval training ship at 
Devonport, under the name of the " Implacable." 1 

At Trafalgar the ship was known as the 
" Duguay Trouin." When the battle opened, she 
was sixth ship astern of the leader of the Combined 
Fleet. Her first shot was fired at the " Victory," 
as the British flagship was hauling up to north- 
ward to make a feint, with the idea of holding 
Admiral Dumanoir's division in check. Then the 
" Duguay Trouin " fired at the " Temeraire," close 
astern of the "Victory," and also had a few 
shots at the "Euryalus." After that the " Duguay 
Trouin " opened fire at the " Africa," then passing 
along the van of the Combined Fleet to join 
Nelson's column ; and also at the "Conqueror" and 
the " Neptune," on whom, for a while, she kept 
up a long-range cannonade. Meantime all on 
board were anxiously expecting the signal to be 
given for the van division to go about and get into 
close action. They could see the " Bucentaure " 
and " Santisima Trinidad " being hard pressed, and 
all the line astern of them hotly engaged, but 
no signal to go about was made. It was not until 
nearly two o'clock, when they plainly saw the flag- 
ship and the "Trinidad" beginning to weaken 
and slacken fire, that the " Bucentaure " at length 

1 For some years, until finally paid off, it was usual every 21st of 
October to display a laurel wreath at the masthead of the " Implacable" 
and decorate her figure-head also ; while at the hoisting of the colours 
at 8 a.m. the band played "The Death of Nelson" in addition to the 
National Anthem. 


made the signal. Then, however, it was too late. 
The breeze was so light that it took nearly an 
hour before Admiral Dumanoir's ships could get 
their heads round. At last all the division got 
about, and thereupon they moved down towards 
the fight, in two groups of five. One set, the 
first to move off, comprising the " San Francisco 
de Asisi," "San Agustin," "Rayo," " Intrepide," 
and " He'ros," kept to leeward, making towards 
where the sorely stricken " Bucentaure " lay, with 
her colours down. The others, Dumanoir's flag- 
ship the " Formidable," with the " Scipion," 
"Duguay Trouin," "Mont Blanc," and " Neptuno," 
kept away to windward. The first group were 
broken up almost at the outset by some of the 
ships originally forming the centre of Nelson's 
column, which struck at them hard and heavily. 
The "Rayo" and "San Francisco de Asisi" made 
off to leeward towards where Gravina, with 
signals flying to rally on him, was already taking 
steps for the retreat of the remnant of the Com- 
bined Fleet. The " Heros," the headmost of all, 
threaded her way through, and, after losing her 
captain and many men, managed to join Gravina. 
The " Intrepide," more daring than the rest, stood 
in closer, got separated, and met her fate, after a 
magnificent defence, as has been related. 

The " Duguay Trouin " and her consorts, during 
this time, were keeping clear and to windward of 
the firing. They eventually came opposite the 


" Victory," a little after Captain Hardy had paid 
his first visit to Nelson in the cockpit. It was 
the concussion of the "Victory's" guns, as they 
replied to the " Duguay Trouin " and her consorts, 
which drew from the dying Nelson the pitiful 
apostrophe to his flagship : " Oh, Victory, Vic- 
tory ! How you distract my poor brain ! " Their 
approach it was, in fact, that recalled Captain 
Hardy on deck and caused him no small anxiety 
for the time being. Nelson being off the deck and 
hors de combat, Hardy, as captain of the flagship, 
in accordance with the usage of the British Navy 
dating from the days of Blake, and in force to 
the present hour was virtually in charge of the 
whole British Fleet until the battle was over ; prac- 
tically the one man responsible, as Nelson's locum 
tenens, for the successful carrying out of operations 
to the final issue. 1 Hardy's descendants treasure 

1 These are the words of the old Official Instruction in question : 
' ' If any Officer, wearing a Flag or broad Pendant, shall happen to be 
slain in Fight with the enemy, the said Flag or Pendant shall never- 
theless continue flying, and not be taken in, whilst the Enemy is in 
Sight ; but the Admiral, who commands in Chief, as also the Flag- 
Officer, to whose Squadron or Division he belonged, shall immediately 
be acquainted with it ; and if it be the Commander in Chief who is 
killed, the next commanding Officer is to be forthwith informed of it, 
who shall immediately repair on board the Ship of the deceased 
Commander, and give the necessary orders, leaving his Flag, or broad 
Pendant flying in his own Ship." At Trafalgar, in the circumstances, 
of course, it was impossible for Collingwood to come on board the 
' ' Victory " to assume command during the rest of the battle ; and we 
know how Nelson would have taken it had he done so, from Nelson's 
sharp rebuke to Hardy in the cockpit, when the anchoring of the fleet 
and the discretion of the second in command in the matter was 


to this day the silver pencil-case that Captain 
Hardy "used to write down signals during the 
battle of Trafalgar, with the marks of his teeth on it 
made in moments of excitement." It was exhibited 
at the great Naval Exhibition at Chelsea in 1891 ; 
and one newspaper, in referring to it, spoke of it as 
"Something like a relic." 

(Showing teeth marks to the left) 

After cannonading the "Victory" and " Teme'r- 
aire," and, as Captain Lucas described, killing some 
of the men in the captured " Redoutable," which 
lay still fast to the " Temeraire," Admiral Duma- 
noir made up his mind to withdraw altogether. 
" It is too late," he said, " to push in now. To 
join in the battle now would be only an act of 
despair. It would only add to our losses." He 
would shift for himself and get away at once: 
nothing more remained to do. Exchanging a dis- 
tant and irregular fire with various British ships, 
Admiral Dumanoir, whose ships had received a 
certain amount of damage and loss in men (the 
"Formidable," for one, had sixty-five men killed 

incidentally referred to. [ " Not while I live : do you anchor, Hardy."] 
The Commander-in-Chiefs flag of command flew at the " Victory's" 
masthead until after half-past four that afternoon, when Nelson died 
and the battle also ended ; and the whole British Fleet, as far as the 
individual ships could see, looked to her for orders throughout. 


and wounded, and had shot-holes in her hull below 
water), got clear with four of his ships. The 
fifth, and sternmost of all, the " Neptuno," was 
cut off in trying to follow her consorts by the 
British "Minotaur" and "Spartiate," themselves 
the two rearmost ships of Nelson's column, brought 
to action and taken after a valiant resistance. 1 

If, as things turned out, the " Duguay Trouin's " 
role at Trafalgar was not particularly distin- 
guished, few more creditable defences were ever 
made by the French than that of the " Duguay 
Trouin's " officers and men on the 2nd of Novem- 
ber, 1805, suffering as they were at that moment 
from the stunning shock of having just witnessed 
the disaster at Trafalgar. In the fight with Com- 
modore Strachan off Cape Finisterre, where the 
"Duguay Trouin" was taken, her captain (Touffet) 
was struck down on the quarter-deck, mortally 
wounded, and Second-Captain Boissard and all four 
of the ship's lieutenants (Lavenu, Guillet, Cosse, 
and Toqueville) were badly wounded. " Enseigne 
de vaisseau " Rigodet fought the ship for great part 
of the battle, and as he, at the last moment, gave 

1 Admiral Dumanoir's behaviour was a bitter disappointment to the 
captains who were still fighting. " All were confusedly mixed to- 
gether, and it was painfully apparent that the British flag pre- 
dominated amongst the groups of combatants, when at length tbe 
division of Admiral Dumanoir appeared under a press of sail on the 
larboard tack. The courage of the French and Spaniards revived 
at the sight of these ships, on which all their hopes reposed, but they 
vanished when the division, consisting of four vessels, the Formidable, 
Scipion, Duguay Trouin, and Mont Blanc, edging off to windward and 
firing useless broadsides, were seen making off." 


the order to lower the tricolour, down with a crash 
came the ship's three masts simultaneously, shot 
through and through. 

" Our unhappy ship," wrote Captain Gemahling, 
of Napoleon's 67th of the Line, two companies of 
which were on board the "Duguay Trouin," 
"totally disabled and making water, was crushed 
by the fire of two ships of the line and frigates. 
It was not war as one understands it ; it was 
butchery, a fearful slaughter. Three-quarters of 
my men lay dead around me ; my poor lieutenant, 
Le Deyeux, lying there, a few feet off, and so 
many others ! " The British squadron that brought 
the "Duguay Trouin" and her consorts to bay 
was of superior force, and comprised " fresh " ships 
from the Channel Fleet ; and in his official despatch 
to the Admiralty the British Commodore (Sir 
Richard Strachan) spoke of the French as having 
"fought to admiration, and not surrendering till 
their ships were unmanageable." 1 In April, 1806, 
on her repairs being completed, the British 
Admiralty renamed the " Duguay Trouin " the 
" Implacable," 2 under which name the ship fought 

1 In the way of prize-money, as it so happened, the capture of 
Dumanoir's squadron was the best e ' haul " of the kind made in the 
Great War. It gave every seaman and marine engaged 10. 13s. as 
prize-money. Trafalgar only brought in 6. 9s. 6d. a head ; and the 
Nile, the second best battle in the matter of prize-money, only 7. 18s. 

2 The new name was appointed for the "Duguay Trouin," in 
April, 1806, just after the failure of Fox's first attempt to come to 
terms with Napoleon on his accession to office on Pitt's death. 
There may have been some connexion in idea between the name 
" Implacable " and Napoleon's rebuff to the overtures. 


for England in battle and served in commission for 
between thirty and forty years. 

How the "Duguay Trouin" and her consorts 
came by their fate was made the subject of a 
personal explanation by Admiral Dumanoir him- 
self, who took the unusual step, for a prisoner of 
war, of writing to the "Times" on the 2nd of 
January, 1806. Certain strictures on his conduct 
had recently appeared in that paper, to the effect 
that for great part of the battle he had re- 
mained " a mere passive spectator of the combat," 
and that he had retreated in discreditable cir- 
cumstances. Admiral Dumanoir replied from 
Tiverton, in Devonshire, where he was interned, 
describing his share in the events of the day. This 
is what he said for himself: 

"The left column of the English, having 
Admiral Nelson at its head, bore at first on the 
French vanguard, which I commanded, but finding 
it too compact, they exchanged some shots with 
us, and then struck at the centre of our line, while 
Vice- Admiral Collingwood attacked our rearguard. 
Having then no enemy to contend with, I tacked 
about, the wind being very weak, a movement 
which I could not risk without the aid of my 
boats. I was followed by four others, and taking 
the lead of this division, I bore towards the centre 
of our fleet, where the fire was hottest. My 
intention was at the same time to cut off two ships 


of war of the division of Admiral Nelson, but they 
gained upon me in swiftness, and in passing ahead 
of me at the distance of pistol-shot, they did me 
considerable damage. I had then to combat the 
enemy's vessels which had broken and passed the 
centre of our fleet. On my coming up, I found 
the Santissima Trinidad and the Bucentaure 
totally dismasted and taken possession of by the 
English, as well as a part of the vessels which 
composed that division. 

" I continued to bear upon our rearguard, which 
I found in part surrendered : I engaged succes- 
sively alongside of twelve vessels, of which four 
were three-deckers and handled us very severely. 
There remained then on the field of battle to 
which I was coming up with my assistance, only 
thirteen French and Spanish vessels, which had 
surrendered, and fifteen English vessels (one only 
dismasted). I was thus cut off from the rest of 
the Combined Fleet, which was much before the 
wind. The Neptune, a Spanish vessel, which was 
of the number of those which had tacked about, 
but which was left very far behind, was surrounded 
by the enemy, dismasted, and obliged to surrender. 
My division, consisting of only four disabled ships, 
was therefore cut off to windward, the rest of the 
Combined Fleet being at the distance of two long 
leagues before the wind, and bearing off under 
all sail. To have rejoined them, I must have 
fallen in with the English Squadron, which re- 
mained entire between those two separated bodies ; 


but this would have been running to certain de- 
struction, without the hope of doing any great 
damage to the enemy. 1 

" This disposition, and the disabled state of the 
ships under my command, made me adopt the only 
proper conduct that remained, which was to keep 
the wind ; then I might have it in my power to 
repair during the night, and to wait the chances 
of the following day. This is what the writer of 
the article concerning me calls ' precipitately 
taking to flight.' It was then three-quarters past 
five, and the Combat had ceased. The Formid- 
able had had 65 men killed or wounded, her 
masts severely damaged, all her tackling and the 
greater part of her shrouds cut to pieces, her sails 
entirely crippled. She made besides four feet 
water in an hour, by reason of the shots she had 
received below water-mark. The three other 
vessels were nearly in the same state, and were 
indebted only to a smooth sea for the preservation 
of their masts. This is probably what the Editor 
calls being a 'mere spectator of the combat.' 
Next morning, seeing on the scene of action only 
the English and their captured vessels, I judged 
that our fleet had re-entered Cadiz, and I took the 
tack for open sea. It was then that I knew 

1 Admiral Dumanoir first thought of running for the Straits of 
Gibraltar ; but at sunset he saw or fancied he saw several strange 
sail in the Straits. Knowing that before the battle Nelson had 
detached six ships to Gibraltar, he gave up the idea of passing that 
way, and, turning north, made off, with the idea of getting to Rochefort. 


more particularly the state of my division. The 
four vessels were obliged to change their main-top- 
masts, yards, and sails, high and low. The Duguay- 
Trouin, one of them, had her mainyard broken, 
and was near losing her bow-sprit, it had been so 
much shattered by shots. The same was the case 
with the mizen-mast of the Formidable, which we 
saved only by keeping against the wind for an 
hour. This vessel, the Formidable, made the same 
day five or six feet water per hour, and it being 
a settled gale, the water increased to seven feet. 
All the pumps being insufficient to keep her 
within water-mark, I was obliged, that I might 
save her from sinking, to lighten her, and reduce 
her force to sixty guns by throwing overboard her 
forecastle battery. From this time, all the pumps 
were necessary to keep her above water. It was 
in this critical situation that, on the 2nd November, 
at midnight, I fell in with the squadron of Sir R. 

Another matter of complaint that Admiral 
Dumanoir laid special stress on was a charge of 
inhumanity. It was based on a paragraph in the 
"Gibraltar Gazette," which went so far as to assert 
that Admiral Dumanoir's squadron, as it was 
making its escape, had deliberately fired on 
several of the ships still in action, and had in 
so doing hit some of the surrendered Spanish 
ships picking them out purposely and killed and 
wounded many men on board. Dumanoir pro- 


tested against this in strong terms, and flatly con- 
tradicted it. 1 

It should be added, in conclusion, that the 
court-martial which tried Admiral Dumanoir, 
on his return to France as an exchanged prisoner 
in 1809, on charges of having failed to do his 
utmost at Trafalgar, accepted his justification of 
his conduct, and exonerated him from all the 
charges, to according to Napoleon's own reported 
words the Emperor's particular disapprobation. 
Napoleon, it is positively stated, when on his way 
to St. Helena on board the "Northumberland," 
told Sir George Cockburn " that he had exerted 

1 " Three of the French ships in the van," said the Gibraltar paper, 
repeating the story, ' ' who had no part in the action, and one of which 
carried a rear-admiral's flag, had the inhumanity and cowardice, as 
they were making their escape, to fire for a considerable time upon the 
Santissima Trinidada, and several others of the crippled Spanish 
prizes, after they had surrendered to us ; which, from their situation, 
were incapable either of opposition or flight ; and an immense number 
of the Spanish were killed and wounded from this unprecedented and 
bloody deed of their good and faithful allies." The "Gibraltar 
Gazette " had also followed its story up by adding this as a sequel to the 
Dumanoir incident. ' ' Such was the indignation felt and expressed by 
the Spaniards at the conduct of the French, that when, two days after 
the action, seven of the enemy's Ships came out of Cadiz, in hopes of 
retaking some of the disabled prizes, the Spanish crew of the Argonauta 
in a body offered their services to the British Officer who had charge 
of the prize, to man the guns against any of the French Ships, and 
they were actually stationed at the lower-deck guns for that purpose, 
whilst the English seamen manned those of the upper deck. The 
English Officer on board returned all the Spanish Officers their arms, 
and placed the most implicit confidence in the honour of the Spaniards, 
which he had no reason to repent : for though their numbers were so 
superior as easily to have enabled them to retake the Ship, yet they 
on every occasion showed the utmost submission and good conduct, and 
declared that if a Spanish Ship came alongside of them, they would 
quietly go below and leave the English to act for themselves." 


all his influence to have him either shot or broke, 
but that he had been acquitted in spite of him. 
He added that when the sentence of acquittal was 
given, Admiral Cosmao (who was one of the mem- 
bers of the court, who he said he decidedly con- 
sidered to be the best sea-officer now in France, 
and had therefore lately created a peer) broke his 
own sword at the time that that of Dumanoir was 
returned to him, which act Buonaparte seemed 
most highly pleased with." And yet the fact 
stands that after Trafalgar Napoleon selected 
Admiral Dumanoir for a post of the highest im- 
portance. In August, 1811, within fifteen months 
of the court-martial, he was appointed a vice- 
admiral, and Governor of Dantzic, which post 
Dumanoir held during the great siege by the 
Allies, with the utmost credit to himself, down to 
January, 1814. And it so happens, also, curiously, 
that the only British naval flag now among the 
trophies at the Invalides was taken by one of the 
vessels under Dumanoir's orders employed in the 
defence of the port. 1 

At the Restoration of the Monarchy, in 
December, 1814, Louis XVIII created Admiral 
Dumanoir le Pelley a count, under the style of 
Le Pelley du Manoir, according to the earliest 

1 I am indebted for this information to Mr. A. B. Tucker, who 
very kindly permitted me to consult the carefully detailed manuscript 
record of the British trophies in France placed by the Governor of the 
Invalides at his disposal recently for use in connexion with Mr. 
Tucker's forthcoming book on the subject of War Flags. 


form of the family name, and promoted him at the 
same time Commander of the Order of St. Louis. 
The Comte died in Paris in 1829, in his sixtieth 
year. 1 

1 The following very courteous and generously inspired letter was 
sent last year at the time of the Nelson Centenary celebration by the 
present head of the Dumanoir family to the Navy League : 


J'apprends que la NAVY LEAGUE a depose sur le monument de 
Trafalgar une couronne commemorative en 1'honneur des combattants 
frau^ais : cette initiative genereuse et chevaleresque sera sincerement 
appreciee par ceux qui savent respecter 1'infortune et honorer la vail- 
lance meme chez les vaincus. 

Mon grand-oncle, le contre-amiral Dumanoir, fut un de ces vail- 
lants : il eut la douleur d'amener son pavilion et de rendre son bati- 
ment a un lieutenant de votre glorieux Nelson ; il ne le fit qu'apres 
deux jours d'une lutte hero'ique, alors que son vaisseau, le Formidable, 
crible, desempare, ne gouvernant plus, faisait eau de toutes parts : les 
deux tiers de 1'equipage etaient hors de combat, lui-meme, couvert de 
sang, la cuisse fracassee, avait du abandonner le commandement. 
L'honneur du soldat etait sauf, la conduite du commandant devait 
aussi etre plus tard solennellement justifiee par ses pairs et sesjuges. 

Plein d'admiration pour la valeur de ses vainqueurs, 1'amiral ne 
cessa de louer le devouement, 1'accueil aimable et les soins empresses 
qu'il re9ut d'eux ; 1'hommage comme'moratif que vous rendez 
aujourd'hui a ce chef et a ses compagnons d'annes justifie la profonde 
admiration dont il honora ses heureux adversaires. 

Petit-neveu de ce chef valeureux, depositaire des amertumes 
patriotiques que cette grande journee laissa dans son creur, je me suis 
cru autorise a adresser a la NAVY LEAGUE 1'expression de ma vive 
reconnaissance pour un acte qui, en associant dans un meme hom- 
mage les vertus guerrieres de deux grands peuples, temoigne au 
monde qu'ils sont dignes 1'un de 1'autre pour une oeuvre commune de 
paix et de grandeur. 

Veuillez agreer, Monsieur le President, 1'assurance de mon plus 
profond respect. 


Paris, 95 rue de Rennes, 
le 22 octobre, 1905. 



AS to the part that it fell to the leader of the 
" Spaniards, Admiral Gravina, and his flagship, 
the "Principe de Asturias," to take at Trafalgar, 
we have the official report to Godoy, the " Prince 
of Peace," at Madrid, sent in by the Spanish Cap- 
tain of the Fleet, Rear- Admiral Escano. Gravina 
was incapacitated from making his own report by 
a severe wound, which afterwards proved mortal. 
Escano himself was wounded at Gravina's side, 
but he was still able to carry on the more urgent 
busijness of the hour on reaching Cadiz after the 
battle. This is the portion of the Spanish Captain 
of the Fleet's report which deals with the actual 
fighting : 

" It wanted eight minutes to noon when an 
English three-decker broke through the centre of 
our line, being seconded in this manoeuvre by the 
Vessels which followed in its wake. The other 
leading ships of the enemy's columns did the 
same. One of them passed down our rear, a third 



laid herself between the Achille and the San 
Ildefonso, and from this moment the action was 
nothing but so many sanguinary single combats 
within pistol-shot : the greater part of them being 
between the whole of the Enemy's Fleet and half 
of ours ; several boardings necessarily took place. 
I do not possess the data requisite for giving your 
Highness a detailed and particular account of these 
single fights, nor can I speak with certainty of 
the movements of the Van, which, I am informed, 
tacked at the commencement of the battle in 


order to support those who were assailed. I can, 
however, confidently assure you that every ship, 
French as well as Spanish, which fought in my 
sight, performed its duty to the utmost, and that 
this Ship, after a terrific contest of four hours with 
three or four of the Enemy's Vessels, its rigging 
destroyed, its sails shot through and through, its 
masts and topmasts riddled, and in every respect 
in a most deplorable condition, was most season- 
ably relieved by the San Justo, a Spanish, and the 
Neptune, a French ship, which junction drove 
off the Enemy, and enabled the Rayo, the 


Montanes, the Asis, and the San Leandro, all of 
which had suffered severely, to unite with the 
other French ships, that were in just as bad a 
plight. As soon as this vessel found itself free of 
the Enemy, it directed the ships which had joined 
company to assist such vessels as were in need of 
their aid, and at nightfall, the cannonade having 
ceased on both sides, the The'mis frigate was 
ordered to tow us towards Cadiz Bay." 

One of the first British ships that the " Principe 
de Asturias" encountered was the "Revenge," 
which broke through the line of the Combined 
Fleet not far ahead of Gravina. We get a glimpse 
of the passage of arms from a seaman on board 
the " Revenge." "A Spanish three-decker ran her 
bowsprit over our poop, with a number of her 
crew on it and in her fore rigging. Two or three 
hundred men were ready to follow ; but they 
caught a Tartar, for their design was discovered 
and our marines with their small arms, and the 
carronades on the poop, loaded with canister-shot, 
swept them off so fast that they were glad to 
sheer off." 

Before she parted from the "Revenge," the 
"Defiance" had joined in the attack, and at the 
same time a Spanish 74, the " San Ildefonso," 
gallantly closed in to assist her admiral. The 
" Revenge " and the " Defiance," however, had 
other antagonists to deal with ; and at the same 
time fresh British ships, the three-decker " Dread- 


nought " and the " Polyphemus " and " Thunderer," 
were nearing the scene. The " Revenge " and 
" Defiance " then turned their attention from the 
" Principe de Asturias " and her consort, and in 
succession the new-comers independently took up 
the attack. It lasted irregularly, for the British 
vessels had now and again others of the enemy to 
fight with for upwards of an hour and three 
quarters. Then, after having made a fierce and 
stubborn defence, at times fighting both sides of 
the ship at once, the " San Justo " and French 
" Neptune " came on the scene. Helped by them 
and by the "Pluton," the "Principe" worked 
her way clear. To do so, however, she had to 
sacrifice her brave consort the "San Ildefonso," 
now hopelessly crippled. Another British three- 
decker, the "Prince," passed close to her at that 
moment, and as the " Principe " disengaged herself 
fired into her two sweeping broadsides. Admiral 
Gravina himself had fallen just before this with his 
left arm shattered. Apparently that was as the 
"Dreadnought" fired her last broadside into the 
Spanish flagship. 

By this time it was nearly half-past three. See- 
ing, as far as could be made out, the whole length 
of the line ahead of the " Principe " in irreparable 
disorder, with dismasted and captured vessels 
everywhere, and that both the " Santisima Trini- 
dad " and " Bucentaure " had their colours down, 
Admiral Gravina, as the only thing left for him to 


do, hoisted the signal for a general rally on his 
flagship, preparatory to a withdrawal to Cadiz. 
The Spanish flagship's main -mast and mizen, 
though still standing, had been shot through and 
threatened to come down at any moment, and the 
nearest frigate, the " Themis," was summoned to 
take the " Principe de Asturias " in tow. Bearing 
away to leeward and gathering round him as he 
moved away what ships could draw clear of the 
fighting, some of which the remaining frigates took 
in tow, Admiral Gravina was able to collect in 
all a remnant of eleven sail of the line, with which 
he passed out of range, and shaped his course to 
the north-east. 

Captain Jugan, of the " The'mis," relates how he 
led the "Principe de Asturias " out of the battle in 
these words, reporting the incident to the senior 
French officer at Cadiz a day or two afterwards: 

" At four o'clock firing had ceased in the centre 
and van. One ship in the rear was still fighting, 
and a signal from the Neptune to other ships to go 
and assist that vessel made me suspect that it 
was our admiral who was being hard pressed. In 
a little time, about a quarter to five o'clock, the 
smoke having entirely drifted off, I made out the 
Principe de Asturias, Admiral Gravina's flagship, 
dragging herself very slowly off to leeward, with 
all set that were left of her ragged sails. I at 
once headed for the Principe in response to her 


signals, and manoeuvred to pass close astern of her. 
I repeated the Neptune's signal to the Spanish 
flagship, and also reported that I believed that it 
was Admiral Villeneuve whose ship was still fight- 
ing. The reply was an order to take them in 
tow immediately. Their masts, they said, were 
threatening to come down every moment. I 
obeyed as soon as possible, and at that moment 
also all firing ceased. Several of our ships were 
now following the example of the Neptune and 
keeping close to the wind. Apparently they were 
waiting for Admiral Gravina to join, and towards 
them I accordingly towed the Spanish flagship." 

Out of 1,113 officers and men on board the 
"Principe de Asturias" when they left Cadiz, 
according to Flag-Captain Escano's official return, 
52 were killed and 110 wounded. 

Admiral Gravina, on arrival at Cadiz after the 
battle, was landed and sent to hospital. He lingered 
for four months and a half, and then died, a 
victim to his doctors. They disagreed as to the 
necessity for amputating his arm, and he preferred 
to accept the views of the minority, who had 
expressed hopes of saving the limb. The admiral 
was still in hospital at the end of February, 1806, 
when mortification set in, and within ten days 
Gravina was dead. This tribute to the Spanish 
admiral appeared in the " Gibraltar Chronicle " of 
the 15th of March. "We lament to hear that 
the brave Admiral Gravina is dead. His friends 


had long entertained hopes of his recovery ; but 
they have been unfortunately disappointed. Spain 
loses in him the most distinguished officer in her 
navy ; one under whose command her fleets, 
though sometimes beaten, always fought in such 
a manner as to merit the encomiums of their 

Drawn from a Photo by Dalton Kaulak, Madrid] 

As kept at the Museo Naval, Madrid 

Gravina died on the 9th of March. His re- 
mains were embalmed and laid temporarily in the 
Chapel of San Jos at Cadiz. On the 29th of 
the month a requiem mass, attended by Admiral 
Alava and Admiral Rosily (who had arrived at 
Cadiz four days after Trafalgar), with their staffs, 
the Governor-General in state, and an immense 
gathering of generals and brigadiers, colonels and 
navy officers of all ranks, and civilian officials, was 


held for him at the Church of the Convent of 
the Carmen, Gravina's brother, the Archbishop of 
Nicasa, officiating. Four years later the remains 
were removed to the Chapel of the Carmen, whence 
in 1869 they were transferred to the newly founded 
Panteon Nacional at Madrid. With the admiral 
were buried his hat and sword, the shot-torn flag 
flown at the masthead of the "Principe" at Trafal- 
gar, and also the baton of a Capitan General de la 
Armada (a rank equivalent to that of Admiral of 
the Fleet in the British service), and banner of a 
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Carlos III, 
honours conferred upon Gravina on his deathbed, 
as a reward for having done his best at Trafalgar. 
The hat and sword and baton, and the flags were 
taken from where they had lain resting, on the 
coffin within the tomb, on the removal of the 
remains to Madrid, and placed in the Naval 
Museum in the capital, where they are now on 

Since then the body of the admiral has been 
moved once again. In April, 1883, it was re- 
transferred by royal command to San Fernando, 
the naval port and arsenal near Cadiz, to be there 
deposited in the Panteon de Marines Illustres. 
A stately procession of naval and military detach- 
ments, headed by the Captain General of Cadiz 
and his staff, received the remains at the railway 
station, and to the booming of minute guns, 
escorted it thence to the Pantdon, where Gravina 



was laid in his present resting-place. The original 
coffin, a leaden one, is thus inscribed. 



It now lies in one of the chapels attached to the 
Pante'on, encased in a lofty and imposing monu- 
ment of dark marble, bearing a lengthy Latin 
inscription setting forth the admiral's services to 
his country, and that he fell at Trafalgar: 


In the upper portion the name "GRAVINA" is 
seen, boldly lettered in gold across a tablet of black 
stone, and above all is the statue of an angel in 
white marble, supporting a medallion bearing the 
admiral's bust carved in high relief. 1 

One officer on board the " Principe de Asturias " 
was also at Waterloo. He was Don Miguel 
Ricardo de Alava, a nephew of Admiral de 
Alava, capitan defregata in 1805, who was acting 
as A.D.C. to Gravina on board the "Principe." 
When Spain threw off the Napoleonic yoke in 
1808 Alava joined the patriot army as a colonel, 

1 See the sketch of the Gravina monument on p. 411. 


and he served as A.D.C. to Wellington throughout 
the Peninsular War. In 1814 he was sent as 
Minister Plenipotentiary to Holland, and in that 
capacity was in attendance at Wellington's head- 
quarters at Waterloo. The Prince Regent, at 
Wellington's instance, made Alava an honorary 
K.C.B. and gave him the Peninsular Gold Cross 
and Medal with bars for Badajoz, Ciudad Rodrigo, 
Salamanca, Vittoria, and Toulouse. In later years 
Don Miguel de Alava was Spanish Ambassador in 
London. 1 

* ***** 

For the " Santa Ana's " share at Trafalgar we 
have to rely entirely on British narratives. 

The "Santa Ana," Vice- Admiral Alava's flag- 
ship, was Collingwood's particular opponent, and 
it was immediately astern of her that Collingwood 

1 One officer in the French Fleet at Trafalgar was also at Waterloo. 
He was the then Major Drouot of the Artillery. The ship he was in 
escaped with Gravina, and Drouot was recalled to France with the 
survivors of the soldiers to join the Grand Army. Jena gave him a 
step, Friedland and Eylau another, Wagram another. Antoine Drouot 
of the Artillery was one of the noblest-hearted and most brilliant men 
of the Napoleonic era. He had made his mark at Hohenlinden and 
turned the fortunes of the day at Wagram by the magnificent handling 
of his guns. He showed splendid endurance during the horrors of the 
retreat from Moscow, and was the only man of the Grand Army who 
' e washed his face and shaved in the open air, affixing his looking-glass 
to a gun-carriage, every day." He brought all his batteries and most 
of his men safely through the retreat, and finally commanded the 
Imperial Guard at Waterloo. 

Two British midshipmen at Trafalgar were officers in Wellington's 
army at Waterloo, and one sailor in Nelson's fleet was present there as 
a colour-sergeant. 


broke the line. "The Royal Sovereign," records 
Collingwood's biographer, Mr. Newnham Colling- 
wood, 1 " gave her a broadside and a half into her 
stern, tearing it down and killing and wounding 
400 of her men ; then, with her helm hard a-star- 
board, she ranged up alongside so closely that the 
lower yards of the two vessels were locked 
together. The Spanish admiral, having seen that 
it was the intention of the Royal Sovereign to 
engage to leeward, had collected all his strength 
on the starboard ; and such was the weight of the 
Santa Anna's metal, that her first broadside made 
the Sovereign heel two streaks out of the water." 
So rapid and deadly was the fire of Collingwood's 
ship that apparently it mastered the fire of the 
Spaniards from the outset. " In about a quarter 
of an hour," continues Mr. Newnham Collingwood, 
"and before any other English ship had been 
enabled to take a part in the action, Captain 
Rotherham . . . came up to the Admiral and, 
shaking him by the hand, said, * I congratulate 
you, sir : she is slackening her fire, and must soon 
strike.' It was, indeed, expected on board the 
Royal Sovereign, that they would have had the 
gratification of capturing a Spanish Admiral in 
the midst of a fleet of thirty-three sail, before the 
arrival of another English ship, but the Santa Anna, 
though exposed to a tremendous loss from the un- 

1 " Correspondence and Memoirs of Vice-Admiral Lord Colling- 
wood," p. 127 et seq. 

Photo, Dalton Kaulak, Madrid] 



[The "Santa Ana" is shown in the centre fighting Collingwood's flagship, the " Royal 
Sovereign," broadside to broadside. The British three-decker seen to the left of the 
picture is intended for the "Dreadnought," but the artist's composition is hardly 

Photo, Dalton Kaulak, Madrid] 
[The model to the left is that of Commodore Churruca's "San Juan Nepomuceno"] 

To face p. 252 


remitting fire of the Sovereign and unable to do 
more than to return a gun at intervals, maintained 
the conflict in the most determined manner, rely- 
ing on the assistance of the neighbouring ships." 

We can get an idea of what the " Santa Ana " 
had to undergo from this additional personal note 
about Collingwood himself. " He visited the men, 
enjoining them not to fire a shot in waste, looking 
himself along the guns to see that they were 
properly pointed, and commanding the sailors, 
particularly a black man, who was afterwards 
killed, but who, while he stood beside him, fired 
ten times directly into the porthole of the Santa 

"The Santa Anna struck at half-past two 
o'clock, about the time when the news of Lord 
Nelson's wound was communicated to Admiral 
Collingwood. . . . He despatched Captain Black- 
wood to convey the Spanish Admiral on board the 
Euryalus, but he was stated to be on the point of 
death, and Captain Blackwood returned with the 
Spanish Captain. That officer had already been 
to the Royal Sovereign to deliver his sword, and 
on entering had asked one of the English sailors 
the name of the ship. When he was told that it 
was the Royal Sovereign, he replied, in broken 
English, while patting one of the guns with his 
hand, * I think she should be called the Royal 

The sword that was handed to Collingwood was 


really that of the senior unwounded Spanish lieu- 
tenant, Don Francisco Riquelme, and out of the 
fact arose a difficulty which led to an exchange of 
letters shortly after the battle between Collingwood 
and Alava. The " Santa Ana " was recaptured by 
the enemy in the sortie made during the storm 
two days after the battle, while the wounded 
Spanish vice-admiral was still on board. Hearing 
in the course of his correspondence with the 
authorities at Cadiz on the subject of the sending 
in of the wounded prisoners on board the British 
Fleet, that Admiral Alava's injuries were after all 
not likely to prove serious, and that he might, 
indeed, return to duty before long, Collingwood 
wrote directly to the Spanish vice - admiral, re- 
quiring him to consider himself for the present as 
an unexchanged prisoner of war : 


" Oct. 30, 1805. 

" It is with great pleasure I have heard that 
the wound you have received in the action is in a 
hopeful way of recovery, and that your country 
may still have the benefit of your services. But, 
Sir, you surrendered yourself to me, and it was in 
consideration only of the state of your wound that 
you were not removed into my ship. I could not 
disturb the repose of a man supposed to be in his 
last moments ; but your sword, the emblem of 
your service, was delivered to me by your Captain, 


and I expect that you consider yourself a prisoner 
of war, until you shall be regularly exchanged by 

In reply Alava explained what had happened 
with regard to the sword, and pointed out that the 
recapture of the " Santa Ana " had of itself given 
him back his liberty. It did not satisfy the 
British admiral ; but there was nothing more to be 
done in the matter, and so Collingwood had to leave 
it. This is what the Spanish admiral wrote : 

" CADIZ, Dec. 23, 1805. 

" The moment I find myself able to subscribe 
my name, I hasten to fulfil the duties of gratitude, 
by returning to your Excellency my warmest 
thanks for your great kindness and care of me, 
which will ever be deeply engraven on my heart. 
I have, at the same time, the greatest satisfaction 
in acknowledging the generosity and politeness 
with which Lieutenant Maker and a marine officer 
of the Thunderer behaved to me on board the 
Santa Ana, and I have the honour of recommend- 
ing these officers to your ExceUency. 

" I should wish here to conclude my letter, but I 
feel it necessary to reply to the subject of which 
your Excellency treats in yours of the 30th of 

" After I fell senseless in the action of the 21st 
of October, I have no further recollection of what 


passed : neither did I know before that my sword 
had been delivered to your Excellency by the 
officer who remained in command of the Santa 
Ana till the end of the combat. In conse- 
quence, however, of your Excellency's assertion, 
the moment I found myself capable of resuming 
the subject, I inquired of that officer, Don Fran- 
cisco Riquelme, and was informed that the sword 
presented by him on board the Royal Sovereign 
was his own ; and that with regard to me, he had 
only requested of your Excellency that I might not 
be moved, in consideration of the few hours for 
which I was then expected to survive. In con- 
firmation of this, I must add, that the sabre which 
I used in the battle, and the swords which I gener- 
ally wear, are still in my possession. This officer 
believes that it was owing to his imperfectly 
expressing himself in the English language, that 
your Excellency was led to think that it was my 
sword which he surrendered to you. 

" What I have said will be a satisfactory reply to 
your Excellency, who grounds on your possession 
of this emblem of my services my incapacity to 
exert them during the continuance of the war 
without previous exchange. If, however, that had 
been true which I have proved to be a mistake, it 
is manifest that I could only share the fate of the 
vessel in which my person was embarked, under 
circumstances in which it was so probable that we 
might be recaptured by a superior force from the 


Combined Fleet ; which, in fact, did happen. The 
same thing might have happened to the Royal 
Sovereign, whither it was proposed to remove 
me, since she was then dismasted, and as un- 
manageable as the Santa Ana, and there can be 
no reason why I should run a risk in two different 

" It is extremely painful to me, that on the first 
occasion which is presented to me of having the 
honour of communicating with your Excellency, 
and when, before the receipt of your valued letter, 
I had anxiously longed for the means of declaring 
to you the extent of my gratitude, I should be 
forced to dissent from your opinion. I could wish 
that this were on a subject which depended on 
my own free will, in order that I might evince 
to you the devotion that I have, and shall for 
ever entertain for your Excellency, to whose 
service in all other matters I shall be anxious to 
dedicate myself. 

" I am, most excellent Sir, 
" Your most obedient and affectionate Servant, 


According to the Spanish official Trafalgar 
returns, out of 1,188 officers and men on board 
the " Santa Ana," 15 officers and 97 men were 
killed, and 4 officers and 141 men were wounded. 1 

Admiral de Alava was promoted to Gravina's 
place at the head of what was left of " la Escuadra 
del Oceano," from which post, some months later, 
he was appointed to a seat in the Admiralty 
Council of the " Prince of Peace." Alava died in 
1817, Captain General, and covered with decora- 
tions, "dejando en la Armada memoria de ser uno 
de los mas valientes y entendidas Jefes de su 

A very fine model of the Trafalgar "Santa Ana" 
is one of the treasures of the Naval Museum at 
Madrid, and there hang on the walls of that in- 
stitution three paintings of her, two showing 
Alava's flagship in action with Collingwood, and 
one to commemorate the recapture of the " Santa 
Ana" in the storm of the 23rd, showing the French 
frigate "Themis" towing the recovered three- 
decker back into Cadiz harbour. 

The last survivor of all who were present on 
either side at Trafalgar was also, it is stated, one of 
the " Santa Ana's " crew. He died in April, 1892, 
at San Fernando, Cadiz a few weeks after the 
last Frenchman passed away. A correspondent of 
the " Tribuno " of Seville of the 9th of that month 

1 That, by the way, corrects Collingwood's biographer as to 400 men 
being rendered hors de combat at the " Royal Sovereign's " first fire. 


To face p. 258 


thus recorded the veteran's passing : " The last of 
those who took part in the glorious naval engage- 
ment of Trafalgar has just died at San Fernando. 
He was named Caspar Costela Vasquez, was born 
in the year 1787, and was 105 years of age at his 
death. For many years he lived in the Convalescent 
Hospital of the garrison, and to the last pre- 
served and enjoyed the use of his intellectual 
faculties. With great pride he was used to re- 
count the exciting affairs of the days of that 
glorious naval campaign at which he had taken 
part. His funeral, which took place yesterday 
afternoon, was attended by a very numerous fol- 
lowing, composed of the principal officers, and of 
troops of the naval and military forces. The 
' feretro ' was carried by four soldiers of the Marine, 
and the band of the Marine Infantry also assisted. 
The corps of Marine Infantry has solemnized in a 
brilliant and becoming manner the burial rites over 
the remains of the last of those who had lived 
to connect us with the ever memorable battle of 
Trafalgar." 1 

1 The last surviving seaman of the " Victory " at Trafalgar, James 
Chapman, died at Dundee in 1876, in his 92nd year. The last 
surviving officer of the "Victory," Admiral Sir George Westphal, died 
a few months previously, in 1875. The two last British survivors of 
the battle itself, both officers, were Admiral Sir George Sartorius, who 
was a midshipman of the " Tonnant," one of the ships of Colling- 
wood's line, and Lieutenant-Colonel James Fynmore, of the Royal 
Marines, who at Trafalgar was a midshipman on board the " Africa," 
of Nelson's own line. Sir George Sartorius died in 1886, in his 95th 
year, and Colonel Fynmore in April, 1887. 


"Santisima Trinidad's" station at Trafalgar 
-*- was close to and next ahead of the French 
flagship " Bucentaure." She fought at that point 
from start to finish ; and, one after the other, all 
the leading ships of Nelson's column, as they came 
up, had a set-to with the great hundred-and-forty- 
gun "four-decker," as the "Trinidad" looked to 
be, with four bands or " strakes " of dull crimson 
on her sides along her tiers of ports. The "Vic- 
tory*" kept firing on her throughout the battle 
until the " Trinidad " surrendered, with the guns 
on the side not blocked in by the " Redoutable " ; 
the "Temeraire" fired guns at her from time to 
time ; the " Neptune," " Leviathan," " Conqueror," 
" Britannia," and " Africa " all engaged the " San- 
tisima Trinidad " more or less closely. As to the 
great ship herself, the " Santisima Trinidad " was 
Nelson's " old acquaintance" of Valentine's Day off 
Cape St. Vincent, and in her long career afloat 
of thirty-six years she had on other occasions 
faced British broadsides in battle. As the biggest 
man-of-war of that day in the world, all on board 



the British Fleet had their eyes on the " Trinidad " 
while the opposing lines were nearing. From 
all accounts there was hardly a British officer 
among those in the leading ships who did not 
earnestly pray that morning that the fortune of 
battle would take his ship alongside the " San- 
tisima Trinidad." 1 

Rear -Admiral Cisneros, whose flagship the 
" Santisima Trinidad " was, personally gave an ac- 
count of the battle and his ship's doings to Godoy, 
who had it published in the official "Madrid 
Gazette " of the 12th of November, 1806 : 

"Admiral Cisneros has communicated to the 
Prince of Peace several interesting particulars of 
the combat maintained by his flagship the San- 
tisima Trinidad. From his account it appears that 
Admiral Nelson, in his ship the Victory, and with 
two three-deckers, bore down to break the line 
between the stern of the Santisima Trinidad and 
the bow of the Bucentaure, the flagship of Admiral 
Villeneuve. Admiral Cisneros immediately gave 

1 Nelson himself, indeed, in the language of one of the many poems 
on Trafalgar, which were published in Spain immediately after the 
battle, no sooner saw the "Santisima Trinidad" with Cisneros' flag 
flying at the masthead, than, recalling who the enemy were when he 
lost his arm, he set himself to make her his own prize, and, heading 
for her, rushed ardently into the fight. 

' ' Ardiendo Nelson, en venganza impia, 
Par su patente mutilado miembro, 
Y Abukir, Copenhague en su memoria, 
Con frenetico orgullo repasando, 
Al descubrir la tremolente insignia 
De Cisneros, aspira a la alta gloria 
De arrebatar lo Trinidad ansiada.'" 


orders to back the topsails of the Trinidad, and 
brought that ship so close to the French vessel 
that by this manoeuvre, as well as by the destruc- 
tive fire which followed, he frustrated the intention 
of Admiral Nelson, who was only able to open for 
himself a passage, and thus to break the line, by 
the stern of the Bucentaure. 1 That being effected, 
the Victory took her position on the starboard side 
of the Trinidad, and the two other three-deckers 
placing themselves on the larboard side, the com- 
bat raged with unexampled fury until 4 o'clock 
p.m., by which time the Santisima Trinidad was 
totally dismasted, and had lost more than three 
hundred men. The vessel indeed was in so 
shattered a condition, that, notwithstanding that 
the English officer placed in possession of her had 
been expressly informed that it was Admiral 
Nelson's particular wish she should be, if possible, 
preserved and carried to England, they were com- 
pelled to abandon the attempt. The water gained 
upon her so fast that the pumps were utterly use- 
less, so that during the night of the third day after 
the battle she sank, the crew having been previ- 
ously taken out of her. It is worthy of notice 
that from the accounts hitherto received it appears 
that the English made three distinct attempts to 
break the line, and were on each occasion com- 
pletely repulsed by our ships. We have already 

1 A painting of the " Santisima Trinidad " barring the " Victory's '' 
passage at this point is on the walls of the Naval Museum at Madrid. 


seen Admiral Nelson's want of success in his 
endeavour to pass by the stern of the Santisima 
Trinidad. Equally unfortunate was the attempt 
of Admiral Collingwood, who, leading the van of 
the English Fleet in his flagship the Royal 
Sovereign, tried to break our line by the bow of 
the Santa Ana, the flagship of Don Ignacio Maria 
Alava. This commander defeated the manoeuvre 
in such a manner that the Santa Ana running 
alongside the Royal Sovereign, a murderous fight 
ensued, which ended only by both vessels being 
totally dismasted. The third column of the enemy 
made a similar attempt by the bow of the Principe 
de Asturias, the flagship of Admiral Gravina, but 
that ship, by closing up and opening a very sharp 
and well directed fire, forced the enemy to abandon 
his intention and to retreat." 

This is what a British officer saw of the " San- 
tisima Trinidad " at the outset, as his ship, the 
"Britannia," came up to her and passed through 
the line astern of the Spanish four-decker. " We 
then encountered the Santisima Trinidad, 240 (sic) 
guns on four decks (the largest ship known). We 
passed under the stern of this magnificent Ship, 
and gave her a broadside which shattered the rich 
display of sculpture, figures, ornaments and in- 
scriptions with which she was adorned. I never 
saw so beautiful a ship. Luffing up alongside her 
four-decked side, of a rich lake colour, she had an 
imposing effect." 


A vivid and telling narrative of what passed on 
board the " Santisima Trinidad," and of the fearful 
ordeal that the hapless 1,048 Spaniards on board 
went through, standing up to their guns and 
taking their punishment manfully until human 
endurance could bear no more, is given in the 
pages of the " Trafalgar " volume of Don B. Perez 
Galdos' series of "Episodios Nacionales." For 
his own purposes in telling the story the author 
has invented characters who figure as narra- 
tors of incidents described ; but beyond that 
very slight touch of fictitious veneer in parts, the 
book is trustworthy and an authentic account of 
experiences on board, drawn from official docu- 
ments in the Archive de la Marina and private 
papers and letters now in family collections. 

Here is what things looked like on board the 
" Santisima Trinidad," as related in Perez Galdos' 

"Our fleet displayed a wide front, and to all 
appearance Nelson's two columns, advancing in a 
wedge, were coming down upon us so as to cut our 
lines through the centre and rear. 

" This was the position of the hostile fleets when 
the Bucentaure signalled that we were to put 



" In point of fact, what had been the vanguard 
was now in the rear, and the reserve ships, which 
were the best, were rearmost of all. The wind 


had fallen, and the ships being of various tonnage 
and inefficiently manned, the new line could not 
form with due precision. Some of the vessels 
moved quickly and drove forward, others went 
slowly, hanging back and losing way, and formed 
wide gaps that broke the line before the enemy 
did it. 

" Early in the morning the decks were cleared 
for action, and when all was ready for serving the 
guns and working the ship, I heard some one say : 
' The sand bring the sand.' A number of sailors 
were posted on the ladders from the hatchway to 
the hold and between decks, and in this way were 
hauling up sacks of sand. Each man handed one 
to the man next to him and so it was passed on. 
A great quantity of sacks were thus brought up 
from hand to hand, and they were emptied out on 
the upper decks, the poop, and the forecastle, the 
sand being spread about so as to cover all the 
planking. The same thing was done between 
decks. My curiosity prompted me to ask a lad 
who stood next me what this was for. 

" * For the blood,' he said very coolly. 

" * For the blood ! ' I exclaimed, unable to re- 
press a shudder. I looked at the sand I looked 
at the men who were busily employed on this 
task and for a moment I felt I was a coward. 


" Everything was ready for serving the guns and 
the ammunition was passed up from the magazines 
to the decks by a chain of men, like that which 
had brought up the bags of sand. 

"The English advanced to attack us in two 
divisions. One came straight down upon us, and 
at its head, which was the point of a wedge, sailed 
a large ship carrying an admiral's flag. This, I 
afterwards learned, was the Victory, commanded 
by Nelson, At the head of the other line was the 
Royal Sovereign, commanded by Collingwood. 

" A ship towards the rear was the first to open 
fire on the Royal Sovereign, commanded by 
Collingwood, and while that ship carried on her 
fight with the Santa Ana the Victory came down 
on us. On board the Trinidad every one was 
anxious to open fire, but our captain would not 
give the word till he saw a favourable opportunity. 
Meanwhile, as if the ships had been touching one 
another and a train of quick-match had been 
laid all along, passing from one to the other, the 
fire ran along from the Santa Ana in the middle, 
to each end of the line. 

" The Victory fired first on the Redoutable, and 
being repulsed she came up to windward of the 
Trinidad. The moment had come for us. A 
hundred voices shouted ' Fire ! " loudly re-echoing 
the word of command, and fifty round shot were 
hurled against the sides of the English man-of-war. 
For a minute 1 could see nothing of the enemy for 


the smoke, while they, as if blinded with rage, 
came straight down on us before the wind. Just 
within pistol-shot they put the Victory about and 
gave us a broadside. In the interval between our 
firing and theirs, our crew, who had taken note of 
the damage done to the enemy, became very enthu- 
siastic. The guns were rapidly served, though 
not without some trouble, owing to want of ex- 
perience in some of the gunners. 

" The Bucentaure, close astern of us, was, as we 
were, firing on the Victory and the Teme'raire 


another powerful English ship. It seemed as 
though the Victory must fall into our hands, for 
the Trinidad's fire had cut her tackle to pieces, and 
we saw with pride that her mizen-mast had gone by 
the board. 

/F *F T\* Tp *Jr *B* 

" The Trinidad was doing the Victory immense 
damage, when the Teme'raire, by a wonderfully 
clever manoeuvre, slipped in between the two 
vessels ; thus sheltering her consort from our fire. 
She then passed through the line astern of the 
Trinidad, and as the Bucentaure, during the firing, 


had moved up so close alongside of the Trinidad 
that their yardarms touched, there was a wide 
space beyond, into which the Te'me'raire settled 
herself, and then she came up on our lee side and 
delivered a broadside into us there. At the same 
time the Neptune, another large English ship, 
placed herself where the Victory had previously 
been, while the Victory also wore round, so that, 
in a few minutes, the Trinidad was quite surrounded 
by the enemy and riddled by shot from all sides. 

" The line of the Combined Fleet was after that 
broken at several points, and the loose order in 
which they had been formed at the outset gave 
place to disastrous confusion. We were surrounded 
by the enemy, whose guns kept up a tornado of 
round shot and grape-shot on our ship, and on the 
Bucentaure as well. The Agustin, the Heros, and 
the Leandro, were also engaged at some distance 
from us, where they had rather more sea-room, 
while the Trinidad, and the Admiral's ship, cut 
off on all sides and held fast by the genius of the 
great Nelson, were fighting desperately. To win 
the day was already impossible ; we were anxious 
though, at any rate, to perish gloriously. 

"The scene on board the Santisima Trinidad 
was simply infernal. All attempts at working the 
ship had to be abandoned. She could not move. 
The only thing to be done was to serve the guns 
as fast as we could and damage the enemy all we 


" The English shot had torn our sails to tatters. 
It was as if huge invisible talons had been dragging 
at them. Fragments of spars, splinters of wood, 
thick hempen cables cut up as corn is cut by the 
sickle, fallen blocks, shreds of canvas, bits of iron, 
and hundreds of other things that had been 
wrenched away by the enemy's fire, were piled 
along the deck, where it was scarcely possible to 
move about. . . . Blood ran in streams about the 
deck, and in spite of the sand, the rolling of the 
ship carried it hither and thither until it made 
strange patterns on the planks. The enemy's shot, 
fired as they were from very short range, caused 
horrible mutilations. . . . The ship creaked and 
groaned as she rolled, and through a thousand 
holes and crevices in her hull the sea spurted in 
and began to flood the hold. 

" There was hardly a man to be seen who did not 
bear marks, more or less severe, of the enemy's 
iron and lead. 

"The Bucentaure, the French Admiral's ship, 
surrendered before our very eyes. 

" When once the leader of the fleet was gone, 
what hope was there for other ships ? The French 
flag vanished from the gallant vessel's mast and 
she ceased firing. The San Agustin and the 
Heros still struggled on, and the Rayo and Nep- 
tuno, from the van, made an effort to rescue us 
from the enemy, who were fiercely battering us. 
Nothing was to be seen of the rest of the line. 


The wind had fallen to a dead calm and the smoke 
settled down over our heads, shrouding everything 
in with its dense wreaths, which it was impossible 
for the eye to pierce. We could catch a glimpse 
now and then of a distant ship, mysteriously mag- 
nified by some inexplicable optical effect ; then all 

" The Bucentaure having struck, the enemy's 
fire was directed on us, and our fate was sealed." 

A British officer on board the " Conqueror," 
looking on at the moment that the " Santisima 
Trinidad" gave in, relates what he saw of the 
finale : 

" The Bucentaure had just surrendered and the 
Conqueror passed on to take a station on the 
quarter of the Trinidada, while the Neptune con- 
tinued the action with her on the bow. In a short 
time this tremendous fabric gave a deep roll with 
the swell to leeward, then back to windward ; and 
on her return every mast went by the board, 
leaving her an unmanageable hulk on the water. 
Her immense topsails had every reef out, her 
royals were sheeted home but lowered, and the 
falling of this mass of spars, sails, and rigging, 
plunging into the water at the muzzles of our guns, 
was one of the most magnificent sights I ever 
beheld. Immediately after this a Spaniard showed 


an English Union on the lee gangway, in token of 

In connexion with the " Santisima Trinidad " 
an extraordinary incident occurred in the middle 
of the battle, after her colours had been shot 
away in action with the "Africa." Coolly pro- 
fessing to believe that the biggest ship of the 
enemy was ready to surrender on formal demand 
by his own, the smallest on the British side, 
Captain Digby, of the " Africa," lowered a boat 
and sent an officer on board to ask for the captain's 
sword and take possession of the " Santisima 
Trinidad." The Spanish officers, instead of dis- 
arming him instantly and making him a prisoner, 
received him with stately politeness. They had 
not surrendered, they assured Lieutenant Smith. 
The " Trinidad " had no intention, they said, of 
striking her flag. They were getting up fresh 
ammunition from the magazines, that was why 
they had ceased firing. It was only through an 
oversight that the colours had not been rehoisted. 
So they explained with Castilian courtesy, and 
then showed the British lieutenant formally off 
the quarter-deck and down the side back into his 
own boat, after which firing recommenced. 

For various reasons, as it happened, it was not 
found practicable to take formal possession of the 
" Trinidad " until some time after the battle was 
over. The ship meanwhile remained with her 
colours down, taking no part in what was going 


on all round her. To rehoist the colours and try 
to escape not an unknown thing in battle was 
beyond the power of a dismasted hulk, in the 
" Trinidad's " hopeless state, to attempt. 

"At 25 minutes after six," says an officer of 
the "Prince," one of the ships of Collingwood's 
line, in a private letter, "took possession of the 
Santisima Trinidad, a four-decker, totally dis- 
masted. . . . Our first night's work on board the 
Trinidad was to heave the dead overboard, which 
amounted to 254 killed, and 173 wounded, several 
of which are dead since." 

Said another officer, Midshipman Badcock of 
the " Neptune " : "I was on board our prize the 
Trinidada, getting the prisoners out of her. She 
had between three and four hundred killed and 
wounded ; her beams were covered with Blood, 
Brains and peices of Flesh and the after part of 
her Decks with wounded, some without legs and 
some without an Arm." 

According to a Spanish MS. account, apparently 
from one of the ship's officers, which is now among 
the Egerton papers at the British Museum, the 
"Santisima Trinidad" surrendered half an hour 
after the " Bucentaure," " not being able any 
longer to work her guns, owing to the mass of 
wreck which covered her decks and hung over her 
sides, and the heaps of dead which choked up her 
batteries. Her loss has been very severe ; her 
Admiral, second and third lieutenants and twenty- 


two other officers have been wounded, seven of 
whom have since died." 

Among the wounded, according to another 
statement, were Rear-Admiral Cisneros himself, 
Don Francisco de Uriarte, the captain of the 
" Santisima Trinidad," and the two next senior 
officers on board, Don Ignacio Olaete and Don 
Jose Sartoria, who, as the " Trinidad's " third lieu- 
tenant, had previously been wounded in her at 
the battle of Cape St. Vincent. Rear-Admiral 
Cisneros recovered from his wound within a few 
weeks of the battle. He was promoted Vice- 
Admiral for his services on the occasion, and 
lived to become Captain- General and Minister of 
Marine. His portrait, as that of a famous leader 
of the Spanish Fleet, hangs in the Museo Naval 
at Madrid. "La figura de D. Baltasar Hidalgo 
de Cisneros," says a Spanish writer, " es una de las 
mas brillantes y gloriosas de nuestra Armada." 



" T71L GRAN CHURRUCA," as to this day in 
-^ Spain they call the heroic officer who fought 
and fell on board the " San Juan Nepomuceno," 
has ever since Trafalgar been to his countrymen 
their hero of heroes in the battle. "Churruca 
morio como el Cid," all Spain said of him with 
pride at the time, and says still. Not unjustifi- 
ably, indeed, if dauntless courage and a lofty bear- 
ing in the face of adversity count among men. 

Not very long before the Combined Fleet left 
Cadiz he had attracted all eyes to himself by a 
display of nerve and firmness, coupled with tact, 
evinced on the occasion of an outbreak on board 
his ship that threatened to become a dangerous 
mutiny. Churruca, by acting promptly and with 
an iron hand, suppressed it without calling on 
assistance from outside. The "San Juan" had been 
one of the ships stationed near the entrance to the 
harbour to keep watch lest the English, as was 
expected, should try to send in fireships and destroy 



the Combined Fleet at anchor. Irritated at being 
kept up, night after night, at the guns, while no 
enemy appeared, and at the same time discontented 
with the provisions supplied them from shore, 
a number of the soldiers drafted on board openly 
mutinied and threatened to use their firearms 
against the ship's officers. The situation looked 
like becoming grave, but, at the critical moment, 
Churruca took just the right step, with the result 
that he was able to repress the mutineers with 
little more than a show of pistols. His personal 
appeal to their loyalty made some waver, where- 


upon by a judicious display of force he and his 
officers overawed the disaffected, isolated their 
leaders from the loyal men on board, disarmed 
them and made them prisoners, and then at once 
packed them off out of the ship, sending them 
ashore under bayonet sentries to be dealt with 
by the authorities there under martial law. Order 
was restored automatically, and the " San Juan's " 
crew as a body returned to their duty with re- 
doubled loyalty and admiration for their captain. 
Churruca's detailed report to Admiral Gravina on 
the occurrence is in existence and bears testimony 
to the resolute character and lofty spirit of the 


His high spirit did not desert him to the last ; 
although Churruca was fully convinced that the 
venture before him and his brother officers was 
a hopeless one ; also that he personally would not 
come back alive from it. 

Commodore Churruca went into action, we are 
told, with his mind full of the presentiment of 
defeat ; and also that his last hour was at hand. 
Before the fleet sailed on Saturday the 19th, he 
said this to his nephew, Don Jose' Ruiz de 
Apodoca, son of Don Juan R. de Apodoca, 
Commandant-General of La Carracca dockyard, 
who was on board the " San Juan Nepomuceno " 
as a volunteer : " Write to your friends that you 
are going into a battle that will be desperate and 
bloody. Tell them also, that they may be certain 
of this that I, for my part, will meet my death 
there. Let them know that rather than surrender 
my ship I shall sink her. It is the last duty that 
an officer owes to his king and country." Churruca 
himself wrote that same day to an intimate friend 
of his own : " If you hear that my ship has been 
taken, you can say that I am dead ! " [Si llegas a 
saber que mi navio ha sido hecho prisoniero, di que 
he muerto !] 

He was hopeless of victory in any circum- 
stances ; as, indeed, Captain Churruca throughout 
took no pains to conceal. When, at eight o'clock 
on the morning of the battle, Villeneuve ordered 
the fleet to go about and form line, divisional 


commanders leading their divisions (ordre naturel), 
he openly expressed condemnation of the forma- 
tion. Such an evolution, he said aloud, was bound 
to throw the fleet into confusion, and in the light 
wind it would take all the morning to re-form, 
besides wearing out and disheartening the men. 
Fretful and downcast, he turned to Don Francisco 
Moyna, his second in command, and declared that 
the day was already lost. " The fleet is doomed. 
The French admiral does not understand his busi- 
ness. He has compromised us all ! " [" Esta la 
escuadra perdida. El general frances no sabe su 
obligacion, y la compromete ! "] At eleven o'clock, 
when the intentions of the enemy had become 
plain and it was seen that the British admiral meant 
to throw the weight of his attack on the centre 
and rear of the Combined Fleet, Churruca 
complained bitterly that Admiral Villeneuve did 
not seem to see the danger. Why did he not 
make the obvious counter-move, he said, which 
would foil the attack ? Churruca stood on deck, 
we are told, watching fixedly for the " Bucentaure " 
to make the signal that was wanted. He kept, all 
the time, his telescope at his eye, pointed on the 
masthead of the " Bucentaure." But no signal of 
the sort was made. Turning away for an instant, 
he exclaimed to the nearest officer : " Our van will 
be cut away from the main body and our rear will 
be overwhelmed. Half the line will be compelled 
to remain inactive. The French admiral does not 


will not grasp it. He has only to act boldly, 
only to order the van ships to wear round at once 
and double on the rear squadron. That will place 
the enemy themselves between two fires." But no 
signal was made, and then, lowering his tele- 
scope finally, Churruca stalked off across the 
quarter-deck muttering: "Perdidos!, Perdidos!, 
Perdidos!" 1 

After that Churruca ordered all hands to be 
called on deck. Whatever the outcome of the 
day might be, Churruca determined that he and 
his men, at least, should not be found want- 
ing in their duty to the flag. He proposed to 
make an appeal to them by all that they held 
most sacred. He sent for the ship's chaplain and 
had all the officers and men turned up and paraded 
on deck. Then he turned to the priest and bade 
him invoke Divine protection on all on board. 
"Father," he said, "perform your sacred office. 
Absolve the souls of these brave fellows, who know 
not what fate this battle may have for them ! " 
[" Cumpla V. Padre con su Ministerio. Absuelva 
d estos valientes que no saben lo que les espera en 
la batalla."] 

1 The signal was made by Admiral Villeneuve, as has been seen, but 
a little time later. " The English," says a French officer, "advanc- 
ing under press of sail in two columns had already reached within 
cannon shot and a half of the Combined Fleet. . . . Then Villeneuve, 
perceiving clearly that the plan of Admiral Nelson was to cut through 
his line and divide it, made a signal to Admiral Dumanoir to wear and 
reinforce the centre of the line. Unfortunately this order remained 
unnoticed. Not a ship of the van squadron put about, although the 
signal was repeated by the frigate Hortense." 


After a short but solemn service of benedic- 
tion had been held, Churruca himself stepped to 
the quarter-deck rail. He addressed the men in a 
loud, clear voice in these words : " My sons, in 
the name of the God of Battles I promise eternal 
happiness to all those who to-day fall doing their 
duty. On the other hand, if I see any man shirk- 
ing I will have him shot on the spot. If the 
scoundrel escapes my eye, or that of the gallant 
officers I have the honour to command, rest 
assured of this, that bitter remorse will dog the 
wretch for the rest of his days, for so long as he 
crawls through what may remain of his miserable 
and dishonoured existence." [These were Chur- 
ruca's actual words : " Hijos mios ; en nombre del 
Dios de los Ejercitos, prometo la bienaventuranza 
al que muera cumpliendo sus deberes ! Si encuentro 
alguno que falte a ellos, lo hare fusilar immediata- 
mente ; y si escapase a mis miradas y a las de los 
valientes oficiales que tengo el honor de mandar, 
sus remordimientos le seguiran mientras arrastre 
el resto de sus dias, miserable y desgraciado ! "] 
Then Churruca called for three cheers for the 
King " Viva el Rey ! " and after that the drums 
and fifes struck up, as the crew, full of eagerness 
and excitement, hastened back to their quarters. 

The " San Juan Nepomuceno " was the third 
ship astern of the " Santa Ana " at the outset of 
the battle. She first exchanged fire with the 
" Mars " as that ship tried to break the line just 


ahead of her, until Cosmao, in the " Pluton," lying 
off to windward, threatened to rake the " Mars," 
which thereupon steered for another gap and came 
into close action with the "Pluton." Then the 
British 80-gun ship "Tonnant" arrived on the scene 
and engaged the Spanish 74 in a fierce close- 
quarter action. It lasted until the " San Juan " 
had been hammered nearly to a standstill under 
the " Tonnant V well-directed broadsides, and a 
heavy fire from the " Bellerophon," " Defiance," 
and other ships, which, one after the other, assailed 
Churruca as they passed near, while in action with 
other ships. 

Perez Galdos relates in detail how Churruca's 
ship went through the day and how her heroic 
captain met his death, following closely an account 
from on board the ship, preserved among the 
Apodoca family papers : 

" The San Juan Nepomuceno was at the end of 
the line. The Royal Sovereign and the Santa 
Ana opened fire and then all the ships in turn 
came into action. Five English vessels under 
Collingwood attacked our ship ; two, however, 
passed on, and Churruca had only three to deal 

" We held out bravely against these odds till 
two in the afternoon, suffering terribly, though we 
dealt double havoc on the foe. Our leader seemed 
to have infused his heroic spirit into the crew and 


soldiers, and the ship was handled and her broad- 
sides delivered with wonderful promptitude and 
accuracy. The new recruits learnt their lesson in 
courage in no more than a couple of hours' 
apprenticeship, and our defence struck the English 
with astonishment. 

" They were in fact forced to get assistance, and 
bring up no less than six against one. The two ships 
that had at first sailed past us now returned, and 
the Dreadnought came alongside of us, with not 
more than half a pistol-shot between her and our 
stern. 1 You may imagine the fire of these six 
giants pouring balls and small shot into a vessel 
of 74 guns ! 


"Churruca, meanwhile, who was the brain of 
all, directed the battle with gloomy calmness. 
Knowing that only care and skill could supply 
the place of strength, he economized our fire, 
trusting entirely to careful aim, and the conse- 
quence was that each ball did terrible havoc on 
the foe. He saw to everything, settled everything, 
and the shot flew round him and over his head 
without his ever once changing colour even. 

" It was not the will of God, however, that he 
should escape alive from that storm of fire. See- 
ing that no one could hit one of the enemy's ships 

1 About thirty yards. 


which was battering us with impunity, he went 
down himself to judge of the line of fire and 
succeeded in dismasting her. He was returning 
to the quarter-deck when a cannon ball hit his 
right leg with such violence as almost to take it 
off, tearing it across the thigh in the most frightful 
manner. He fell to the ground, but the next 
moment he made an effort to raise himself, sup- 
porting himself on one arm. His face was as 
white as death, but he said, in a voice that was 
scarcely weaker than his ordinary tone : * It is 
nothing go on firing ! " [" Esto no es nada. Siga 
el fuego ! "] 

" He did all he could to conceal the terrible 
sufferings of his cruelly mangled frame. Nothing 
would induce him, it would seem, to quit the 
quarter-deck. At last he yielded to our entreaties 
and then he seemed to understand that he must 
give up the command. He called for Moyna, his 
second in command, but was told that he was dead. 
Then he called for the officer in command on the 
main deck. That officer, though himself seriously 
wounded, at once came to the quarter-deck and 
took command. 

"It was just before he went below that Churruca, 
in the midst of his agonies, gave the order that the 
flag should be nailed to the mast. The ship, he 
said, must never surrender so long as he breathed. 
[" Despues," says the account in the family papers, 
" pidid a los que vinieron en su ayuda que clavara 


la bandera y no se rindiera el buque mientras el 
tuviera un atomo de vidas."] 

" The delay, alas ! could be but short. He was 
going fast. He never lost consciousness till the 
very end, nor did he complain of his sufferings. 
His sole anxiety was that the crew should not 
know how dangerous his wound was ; that no one 
should be daunted or fail in his duty. He spe- 
cially desired that the men should be thanked for 
their heroic courage. Then he spoke a few words 
to Ruiz de Apodoca, and after sending a farewell 
message to his poor young wife, whom he had 
married only a few days before he sailed, he fixed 
his thoughts on God, Whose name was ever on his 
lips. So with the calm resignation of a good man 
and the fortitude of a hero, Churruca passed away. 

" After he was gone, it was too quickly known, 
and the men lost heart. . . . Their courage was 
really worn out. It was but too plain that they 
must surrender. ... A sudden paralysis seemed 
to seize on the crew ; their grief at losing their 
beloved leader apparently overpowered the dis- 
grace of surrender. 

" Quite half the San Juan's crew were hors de 
combat, dead or wounded. 1 Most of the guns were 
disabled. All the masts, except the main-mast, 
had gone by the board. The rudder was useless. 

1 According to the official Spanish returns the ' ' San Juan Nepomu- 
ceno " lost 250 officers and men (100 killed and 150 wounded) out of a 
total ship's company, as mustered on the 19th, of 693. 


And yet, in this deplorable plight even, they made 
an attempt to follow the Principe de Asturias, 
which had given the signal to withdraw; but the 
San Juan Nepomuceno had received her death 
blow. She could neither sail nor steer." 
So the flag had to come down. 

Three British ships claimed the "San Juan." The 
"Tonnant," her principal opponent, seeing her cease 
fire, sent a boat with an officer to take possession, 
but the boat was struck by a shot and was 
swamped on the way. The " San Juan " crawled 
away and fell in with the " Defiance," before whose 
threatening attack she yielded at discretion. " The 
Defiance," says a memoir of her captain, "was 
just going to pour in a broadside, when Captain 
Durham observed the Spanish captain surrounded 
by his officers, making signals with their hats, and 
ordered the crew of the Defiance not to fire, upon 
which the Spaniard hauled down his colours with- 
out firing a shot." Apparently the " Defiance " 
did not wait to take possession. It fell to the 
" Dreadnought," a little later, to receive the sur- 
render formally and man the prize. 

Churruca, personally, was the idol of the Spanish 
Fleet of his day. He was comparatively young 
for the rank he held that of Commodore only 
forty-four years of age. As a navigator and an 


officer of scientific attainments his reputation 
stood high. Many years before his explorations 
in the Straits of Magellan, and along the coasts 
of Patagonia and Chili, had given him European 
fame. There is a striking portrait of Churruca 
at the Naval Museum in Madrid. It hangs in 
the hall dedicated to " Officers killed in action," 
between the portrait of Gravina and that of the 
gallant Velasco, the defender of Havana in 1763, 
in whose honour King Charles III decreed that 
as long as Spain had a navy, one of its ships should 
ever bear the name of Velasco. Churruca also has 
two statues in Spain. One, erected in 1811, stands 
in the Plaza Mayor of Ferrol ; the other, erected in 
1886, is in the little town of Motrico in Guipuzcoa, 
where Churruca was born. His name has been 
borne since Trafalgar by several Spanish men-of- 
war, and there are descendants of his serving in 
the Spanish Navy of to-day. One is the Captain 
Churruca who commanded the Spanish torpedo 
squadron at Santiago de Cuba in the war with the 
United States, and in the spirit of his heroic 
ancestor before leaving Cadiz led his crews to a 
shrine of the Virgin and there took a solemn vow 
with them to conquer or die. They did not get 
a chance of doing either. 

Churruca's ship, the " San Juan," was one of the 
few trophies of Trafalgar that Collingwood was 
able to preserve. She was kept at Gibraltar for 
ten years as a receiving hulk, at first under the 


name of the " Berwick," and after that under her 
original name, and then, in 1815, was broken up. 
That was the fate of the actual ship : in memory 
of her fate, her captain, and brave crew, a beautiful 
model of the vessel was long preserved with honour 
at the dockyard where the " San Juan " was built. 
It is now among the pick of the models in the 
fine collection in the Naval Museum at Madrid. 



fame of Galiano of the " Bahama " at Tra- 
-*- falgar stands, in the estimation of his country- 
men, next after that of Churruca, and very nearly 
on a level with it. "El inclito Galiano" they call 
him to this present day in the Spanish Navy. 
Like Churruca, Galiano displayed the highest 
personal courage in face of overpowering odds ; 
like him, Galiano fell in the midst of a heroic 
resistance, dying on the quarter-deck of his ship, 
bidding them keep the colours flying, nailed to the 
mast. " Un Galiano sabi morir, pero no renderse," 
were, it is recorded, his last words. 

The " Bahama's" station when the battle opened 
was the fifth or sixth ship astern of the " Santa 
Ana"; just where perhaps the fiercest fighting 
of the whole battle took place. Her first antago- 
nist was the hard-hitting " Bellerophon," with 
whom, however, the encounter was but partial 
and did not last very long. Then the " Colossus," 
following the " Bellerophon " into battle, attacked 



her and also the French " Swiftsure," which was 
near by. The " Swiftsure," however, after a while 
dropped back to a little distance, and left the 
"Bahama" to fight it out, practically ship to 
ship, with the " Colossus." That British seventy- 
four had already engaged and roughly handled 
the "Argonauta," but her highly trained crew, 
commanded by Captain James Nicoll Morris, were 
little the worse so far for the encounter, and as 
dangerous opponents as the " Bahama's " men 
could meet. For their part, the Spaniards, incited 


by the words and example of their leader, a man 
of iron nerve, as he has been described, made up 
for their deficiencies of training by a surprisingly 
stubborn defence. They made the "Colossus" 
pay heavily before she had achieved her end. 

"Galiano," describes Perez Galdos, "reviewed 
the crew at noon, went round the gun-decks, and 
made the officers an address. * Gentlemen,' he 
said, 'you all know that our flag is nailed to 
the mast.' He was a stern commander and a man 
without nerves. Then he turned to the captain 
of the marine infantry on board, Don Alonso 


Butron. * I charge you to defend it,' he said. 
' No Galiano ever surrenders, and no Butron should 
either.' In that spirit the ' Bahama's ' captain took 
up his post in the battle. 

" The enemy riddled the * Bahama ' with broad- 
sides to port and starboard. The men fell quickly 
from the very first, and the Commodore early had 
a bad bruise on his foot, after which a splinter 
struck him on the head and gashed him deeply. 
But he paid little heed to it and refused to go to 
the surgeon. He stayed on deck and directed the 
fight, sternly giving his orders, as if nothing was 
happening. Alcala Galiano gave his orders and 
directed his guns as if the ship had been firing 
salutes at a review." 

Galiano fell about three o'clock. He met his 
death, according to a written account from on 
board the " Bahama," now kept among his family's 
archives, in this way. He was standing, a few 
moments earlier, on the quarter-deck with his 
telescope in his hand when the wind of a passing 
shot made him stagger, and sent his glass flying 
down on deck. His coxswain, a veteran sailor 
and an old follower of Galiano's, picked it up 
and hastened to the commodore to see if he had 
been harmed. Galiano with a smile was reassuring 
the coxswain when, all in an instant, a cannon 
ball smashed in between them, cutting the un- 
fortunate coxswain in two and covering Galiano 
with his blood. The next moment a second 


cannon ball struck down the commodore himself, 
with part of his head shot away. 

On the fall of their leader, or almost imme- 
diately afterwards, all the fighting flickered out 
of those who were left on board the " Bahama." 
An attempt was made to keep the news of 
Galiano's death from the crew ; and a flag was 
thrown over the body as it lay, but the news all 
the same spread like wildfire below, and the men 
at the guns began to flinch. Don Roque Guruceta, 
the senior surviving lieutenant Galiano's second 
in command was off the deck, severely wounded 
held a hasty consultation with two other officers, 
and then ordered the nailed-up flag to be torn 
down. It was done, and at the same time a 
British Jack was displayed. So the " Bahama's " 
part ended at Trafalgar, and shortly afterwards a 
lieutenant of the " Colossus " came on board to 
take Don Roque to the British ship to formally 
deliver up his sword to Captain Morris. 

It was panic at Galiano's fall apparently that 
caused the loss of the " Bahama " at that moment. 
She had been defending herself vigorously up to 
then, and her casualty list, so far, had not been 
excessively heavy : 75 killed and 67 wounded ; a 
total of 142 of all ranks out of a ship's company 
of according to Commodore Galiano's return to 
the flag-captain on the morning of the 19th 690 

There is a portrait of Galiano in the Naval 


Museum at Madrid, and a statue to his honour 
stands in the Plaza Mayor of Corunna. 

* * # # # * 

Valdez of the "Neptuno," Don Cayetano Valdez 
"El intrepido Valdez" the Spanish Navy has 
called him ever since was another officer who 
fought with distinction at Trafalgar. He com- 
manded the " Neptuno," one of Admiral Duma- 


noir's squadron, and during the earlier part of the 
afternoon, like his consorts in the van, had to look 
on while the centre and rear ships of the Com- 
bined Fleet were being overpowered within sight. 
As the leading ship of all during the first two 
hours of the battle, when Dumanoir at length 
went about the " Neptuno " became rearmost ship, 
at the tail of the five vessels that the French 
admiral carried with him when he turned back and 
passed to windward of the battle. That also led 
to Captain Valdez' undoing. 

After following his leader for a short way Valdez 
apparently became doubtful as to what to do 


next. Should he follow in wake of the five van 
ships, the " Intrepide," " Heros," and the rest that 
had stood to leeward and were already in brisk 
action with the nearest group of Nelson's ships, 
trying to make their way past them towards 
Gravina ? Or, should he stand in, regardless of 
consequences, towards where the dismasted "Trini- 
dad " lay ? He had rescued the "Trinidad" once 
should he try to bring her off again ? Captain 
Valdez hesitated. Twice he altered his course. 
Then he changed his mind once more, and tried 
to regain his proper station astern of Dumanoir's 
retreating four. But he had lagged behind his 
consorts too far to catch them up quickly, and had 
fallen considerably to leeward of them leaving 
a wide gap between. Before the "Neptuno" 
could close up on the " Scipion," the nearest of 
her consorts, two British ships from windward, 
after passing and exchanging broadsides with the 
other four of Admiral Dumanoir's ships, closed in 
and fastened on the "Neptuno." They cut her 
off and attacked on either side. The two were 
the " Minotaur " and " Spartiate," whose position 
at the extreme rear of Nelson's column, while 
bringing them late into the battle, now gave 
them their chance. The two waylaid the "Nep- 
tuno," hustling her in her effort to escape and 
forcing Valdez to accept battle at every dis- 

With all her sails and rigging cut to pieces, 


the " Neptuno " could soon only go dead slow, and 
meanwhile the enemy, drawing up on her quarter 
on either side, pounded at her steadily and with 
practical impunity: "firing obliquely through her," 
according to the " Spartiate's " log, " she returning 
at times from her stern-chase and quarter guns." 
Valdez fought on stolidly, half expecting, it would 
seem, that Dumanoir would turn back to disengage 
him. But no thought of that was in the French 
admiral's mind. When the " Neptuno's " mizen- 
mast and her fore and maintopmasts came down 
in quick succession, there was left no more hope, 
no further possibility of escape, for Captain 
Valdez. After an hour and a quarter's most 
gallantly maintained fight he gave in and lowered 
his colours, the last Spaniard to surrender at 
Trafalgar. It was about the very moment that 
the only other ship of the Combined Fleet at 
Trafalgar still fighting, the " Intrdpide," lowered 
her colours, and there is even now something of a 
dispute between French and Spanish navies as to 
which ship was actually the last to yield. 1 

It was the hopelessness of his position that in 
the end decided Captain Valdez to surrender not 
so much the loss on board the " Neptuno." That, 
of itself, was comparatively light: 89 all told 

1 In after days honours came quickly on Don Cayetano Valdez. He 
distinguished himself as a general in the Peninsular War, became 
Governor of Cadiz, and Captain-General, Minister of Marine, Presi- 
dent of Cortes, and finally President of the Regency during the infancy 
of Queen Isabella II. 


42 killed and 47 wounded out of 800 officers 
and men. He was, indeed, unable either to fight 
or fly. His ship, towards the last, could hardly 
move through the water : her rigging had been cut 
to pieces ; her sails were hanging in tatters ; while, 
all the time, the English ships two to one were 
pounding into the "Neptuno" at short range, 
hardly receiving a shot in return themselves ; 
cannonading her with a cross-fire that Valdez was 
practically unable to reply to except with a few of 
his aftermost guns. In such a position effective 
resistance was out of the question. To prolong 
resistance was a mere sacrifice of human life, and 
the brave Spaniard, sorely against his will, had 
to acknowledge it. So Valdez mournfully gave 
orders for the " Neptuno's " ensign to come down. 

Don Antonio Pareja captained the " Argonauta," 
the most perfect man-of-war in both fleets, as it 
was claimed for her. Said Admiral Gravina to 
Pareja, when presenting him with his commission 
to command the ship : " Le entrego a usted la 
mejor flor di mi jardin." The "Argonauta" 
fought various British ships during the first hour 
of the battle, and then she had a sharp set-to with 
the British " Achille " which lasted over an hour. 
Towards the end, the " Argonauta," unable to fire 
another gun, but with her colours still flying, made 
a forlorn-hope effort to escape. She hoisted her 


mainsail to move off, but the attempt failed. After 
that, shutting down their ports, they displayed a 
British flag over the " Argonauta's " larboard 
quarter, in token of surrender. Out of 780 officers 
and men on board when she left Cadiz the 
"Argonauta" had 300 killed and wounded, the 
killed making exactly a third of the total. The 
" Belleisle " finally took possession of the ship, and 
one of the British ship's marine officers was sent to 
receive the surrender in form. He described his 
visit in these words : 

"A beaten Spanish 80-gun ship the Argonauta 
having, about this time, hoisted English colours, 
the Captain was good enough to give me the pin- 
nace to take possession of her. The Master 
accompanied me, with eight or ten seamen or 
marines, who happened to be near us. On getting 
up the Argonauta's side, I found no living person 
on her deck ; but on my making my way, over 
numerous dead and a confusion of wreck, across 
the quarter-deck, I was met by the second captain 
at the cabin door, who gave me his sword, which I 
returned, desiring him to keep it for Captain 
Hargood, to whom I should soon introduce him. 
With him I accordingly returned to the Belleisle, 
leaving the Master in charge of the prize." 

The casualty returns from the other Spanish 
ships, as officially published a few weeks later, 
may be summarized as follows. Of those that made 


full or approximate returns : the " San Agustin," 
out of 711 on board, put her losses at 380 180 
killed and 200 wounded ; the " Monarca," out of a 
ship's company of 667, stated hers at 250 100 
killed and 150 wounded ; the " San lldefonso," out 
of 746 all told, gave her figures as 160 34 killed 
and 126 wounded. Others of the returns were 
admittedly incomplete, it being found, for various 
reasons, impossible to get fuller statements. Thus 
the "Montanez," out of 715 officers and men, 
accounted for a total loss of not more than 49 ; 
the " San Leandro," out of 606, reported a loss of 
only 30 ; the " Rayo," with 830 men on board, put 
her total casualties at fewer still 18 ; the " San 
Francisco de Asis," with a crew of 677, put hers 
at 17 : the " San Justo," again, reported only seven 
men wounded and not one man killed, out of a 
crew of 694 of all ranks and ratings. 



ALL the world knows how a fierce storm from 
^J^ the Atlantic burst on the victorious British 
Fleet and its prizes during the night after Trafalgar. 
It lasted four days, and caused the loss, by sinking, 
recapture, wreck, or enforced destruction at the 
hands of their captors, of all the British prizes 
made in the battle, except four ships. Their 
fate completed the catastrophe^ of Trafalgar for 
France and Spain. Many brave officers and men 
met their death on board the ships in spite of 
every effort, made at great risk by the victors, to 
save life. 

The " Fougueux " was the first ship of all to be 
lost. At the close of the fighting the British 
frigate "Phcebe" had taken her in tow; but about 
midnight, when the wind shifted to the south-west 
and began to blow a gale, she broke adrift. As 
the morning of the 22nd came on, it blew harder 
still, and in spite of every effort by the " Phoebe," 
during the earlier part of the day, to get hold of 
the prize again, the " Fougueux " drove ashore and 



was beaten to pieces on the rocks. Almost all on 
board were lost with the ship, including thirty of 
the " TemeYaire's " men, who formed the British 
crew in charge of the prize. 

Pierre Servaux, the master-at-arms of the 
" Fougueux," whose narrative of the ship's doings 
and fate in the battle has been quoted, says this of 
the dreadful state of affairs on board during the 
night of the 21st, after the ship had broken away 
from the " Phoebe " : 

" The ship was in a terrible condition, cut down 
to a hulk, without masts, sails, or rigging left. She 
was, too, without a boat that could swim, while 
the whole vessel was as full of holes as a sieve, 
shattered from stem to stern, and with two enor- 
mous gaps forced in on the starboard side at the 
water line, through which the sea poured in a 
stream. The water had risen almost to the orlop 
deck. Everywhere one heard the cries of the 
wounded and the dying, as well as the noise and 
shouts of insubordinate men who refused to man 
the pumps and only thought of themselves. The 
scenes of horror on board the ship that night were 
really the most awful and fearful that imagination 
can call up." 

Servaux himself escaped next morning as the 
" Fougueux " was nearing the rocks, when the 
water in the hold had reached the lower deck and 
matters were desperate, by jumping into the sea 
from one of the lower-deck ports and swimming 


to an English boat from the " Orion " that was not 
far off. 

Next the " Redoutable " met her fate. She went 
to the bottom in the course of the night of the 
22nd. She was in tow of the " Swiftsure " at the 
time, and we have eye-witnesses' accounts of what 
happened, from the " Swiftsure." First, briefly, 
here is the record of the event from the " Swift- 
sure's " log : 

" At 5, the prize made the signal of distress to 
us. Hove to, and out boats, and brought the 
prize officer and his people on board, and a great 
many of the prisoners. At a quarter past, the 
boats returned the last time with very few in 
them, the weather so bad and sea running high 
that rendered it impossible for the boat to pass. 
Got in the boats. At a quarter past 10, the 
Redoutable sunk by the stern. Cut the tow, and 
lost two cables of eight and a half inch, and a 
cable of five inches, with the prize." 

Midshipman G. A. Barker of the "Swiftsure" 
in a letter home gives a terrible picture of the last 
hours of the hapless " Redoutable " : 

" On the 22nd it came on a most Violent Gale 
of wind, the Prize in Tow seem'd to weather it 
out tolarable well notwithstanding her shatter 'd 
state until about three in the afternoon, when from 
her rolling so violently in a heavy sea, she carried 
away her fore Mast, the only mast she had stand- 


ing. Towards the evening she repeatedly made 
signals of distress to us : we now hoisted out our 
Boats, and sent them on board of her although 
there was a very high Sea and we were afraid the 
boats would be swampt alongside the Prize, but 
they happily succeeded in saving a great number, 
including our Lieut, and part of the Seamen we 
sent on board, likewise a Lieut, two Midshipmen 
with some Seamen belonging to the Te'meraire. 1 
If our situation was disagreeable from the fatigue 
and inclemency of the weather what must the 
unfortunate Prisoners have suffered on board with 
upwards of 8 Thousand men, nearly five Hundred 
were killed, and wounded in the engagement, 
and more than one half of the remainder were 
drowned. What added to the horrors of the night 
was the inability of our saving them all, as we 
could no longer endanger the lives of our people 
in open boats, at the mercy of a heavy sea and 
most violent Gale of Wind ; at about lO.p.m. the 
Redoutable sunk, and the Hawser, by which we 
still kept her in Tow, (in order if the weather 
should moderate and the Prize be able to weather 
the tempestous night) was carried away with the 
violent shock ; this was the most dreadful scene 
that can be imagined as we could distinctly hear 

1 According to Captain Lucas, out of 643 on board the " Redout- 
able" on the morning of Trafalgar, only 169 were rescued and brought 
on board the ' ' Swiftsure," of whom 70 were wounded. The rest, 
474 in number, were either killed in the battle or went down in the 


the cries of the unhappy people we could no 
longer assist. Towards the morning the weather 
moderated and we had the good fortune, to save 
many that were floating past on rafts at 9 a.m. 
discovered a large raft ahead and shortly after 
another, many of the unfortunate people were 
seen clinging to the wreck, the merciless sea 
threatening almost instant destruction to them, 
the Boats were immediately lowered down, and 
we happily saved thirty-six people from the Fury 
of the Waves. When the Boats came alongside 
many of these unfortunate men were unable to 
get up the Ship's side, as most of them were not 
only fainting from fatigue, but were wounded in 
the most shocking manner, some expired in the 
Boats before they could get on board, completely 
exhausted and worn out with struggling to pre- 
serve their lives, having been the whole of a 
Tempestous Night, upon a few crazy planks ex- 
posed to every inclemency of the weather. If our 
Seamen had conducted themselves as brave men 
during the Action, now it was they evinced them- 
selves as human, and generous, as they were 
Brave. When these unfortunate people came on 
board you might have seen them cloathing them 
as well as a scanty stock would admit of, though 
scanty yet hard earn'd, and that in the Defence of 
His King, his Family, and Country at large." l 

1 With what devotion the " Swiftsure's " officers and men worked, 
and how they risked their lives, on behalf of their former foemen in 


The " Algeciras " met with a fate of another 
kind. On board her the British prize crew were 
overpowered by their French prisoners, as the con- 
sequence of an act of humanity, and the ship was 
recaptured and taken into Cadiz. 

The "Algeciras," dismasted and battered by 
shot, and without an anchor that would hold, 
drifted away from the British Fleet during the early 
hours of the 22nd, directly for the reefs to north- 
ward of Cape Trafalgar. Lieutenant Charles 
Bennett of the " Tonnant " and fifty men were in 
charge of the prize, and had under hatches in the 
hold two hundred and seventy French officers and 

distress, is shown by the following account, from a memoir of Lieu- 
tenant Thomas Sykes, Second Lieutenant of the " Swiftsure " : 

" It being observed that the French 74-ship Redoutable, which the 
Swiftsure had taken in tow, was rapidly sinking, Mr. Sykes, after 
every effort had been apparently made by the boats to rescue the crew, 
and when the approaching darkness rendered any further attempt 
hazardous in the extreme, implored his captain, Rutherford, that he 
might be allowed to make one more trip. By dint of great persuasion 
he was at length permitted to take the launch and proceed on his 
heroic mission. In consequence of the tremendous rolling of the 
Redoutable in the heavy sea which had set in, he found it impossible 
to get close to her, and all he could do was to watch the lee-roll of the 
ship, and drag into his boat as many of the half-drowned wretches as 
could be laid hold of. The length of time he was thus occupied 
creating the greatest alarm in the mind of Capt. Rutherford, the 
latter sent in quest of him the pinnace, under the orders of the 
present Commander Thos. Read. On being joined by that officer, 
Mr. Sykes directed him to follow his example, nor did the two desist 
in their humane endeavours until their boats were full. They then, 
after they had both been given up, returned to their ship ; and in 
another hour the Redoutable, with 300 persons, whom it had not been 
possible to save, was no more." 


men as prisoners. At daybreak the ship was too 
far off to get aid from the fleet, and as the morn- 
ing advanced they neared the rocks fast. Lieu- 
tenant Bennett's men were too few to guard the 
prisoners and to rig the jury-masts which alone 
could save the ship. As the only chance for those 
on board, the Lieutenant had the hatches taken 
off and the prisoners set free. They swarmed 
on deck and, instantly, headed by one of their own 
officers, Lieutenant De la Bretonniere whose 
action "made his name" in the French Navy and 
brought him his flag in later days " at once made 
it clear to Bennett that they resumed possession 
of the ship : if he and his men did not agree, they 
would be thrown overboard ; if they did, and 
assisted to save the ship, they should be set at 
liberty. Under these circumstances the English- 
men yielded, and Englishmen and Frenchmen, 
working together, succeeded in getting up three 
topgallantmasts as jury-masts, and so after a 
perilous navigation fetching into Cadiz." 1 

The " Bucentaure," Admiral Villeneuve's late 
flagship, came to her end on the forenoon of the 
23rd, when she was driven ashore and wrecked at 

1 The British ensign hoisted on board the "Alge^iras" was for- 
warded by Admiral Rosily, on his arrival at Cadiz on the 25th of 
October, to the Ministry of Marine in Paris. It was later sent to the 
Invalides, where it was destroyed, burned, in 1814, with the other 
trophies there, by order of General Serrurier, the Governor, to pre- 
vent their falling into the hands of the Allies then nearing Paris. 


the entrance to Cadiz harbour. The " Conqueror " 
had the " Bucentaure " in tow up to that morning, 
but on some of the French and Spanish ships 
that had escaped into Cadiz taking advantage of 
a lull in the storm to attempt a sortie for the 
recovery of any of the prizes that might have got 
adrift, the " Conqueror " had to cast the " Bucen- 
taure " loose. Thereupon the ship drifted inshore 
on to the Puercos rocks, at the entrance to Cadiz 
harbour and within a mile of the ramparts, 
where she went to pieces. Most of those on 
board, including the British prize crew, were 
rescued by boats from two of the French ships. 
The British party, who thus found themselves 
placed in the power of the enemy, were treated 
with the utmost courtesy and kindness at Cadiz, 
and sent back to Collingwood later pn under a flag 
of truce. 

It was in this way that the sortie which caused 
the destruction of the " Bucentaure " came about. 
During Wednesday morning, the 23rd of October, 
there was a break in the weather, and the storm 
seemed as if it were dying down. Tempted out 
by the lull and apparent improvement, and the 
sight of several half dismasted hulks drifting not 
far in the offing, while only a few British ships 
were apparently at hand, certain of the French 
and Spanish ships which had escaped into Cadiz 
with the least damage, came out of port to try to 


recover something after Monday's disaster. The 
sortie itself was in its inception a fine display 
of hardihood, after the disaster of forty-eight hours 
before. It was due to the initiative of the gallant 
Cosmao Kerjulien, the senior surviving captain 
in the French Fleet. He headed the sortie in his 
own ship, the sorely battered "Pluton," though 
she was hardly seaworthy in face of the weather 
outside. Five of the line the "Pluton," "In- 
domptable," " Neptune," " Rayo," and " San Fran- 
cisco de Asis" with as many frigates, and two 
brigs, made the sally. They were able to recover 
two ships. One was the three-decker " Santa Ana," 
with the wounded Admiral Alava on board. She 
was drifting inshore, within two miles of Cadiz, 
in tow of the " Thunderer," when the French and 
Spaniards were seen coming out. The " Thun- 
derer," in order " to clear the enemy," had to cast 
the " Santa Ana" off, after withdrawing the British 
prize crew, and the enemy retook possession forth- 
with and carried the "Santa Ana" back into Cadiz. 
The second ship retaken was another Spaniard, the 
"Neptuno," which had broken adrift from the 
" Minotaur " on the afternoon of the 22nd, and by 
herself was driving ashore, when a French frigate 
intercepted her and took her also successfully into 
Cadiz Bay, to be stranded there, however, some 
days later. 

The retaking of the " Santa Ana " and " Nep- 
tuno" was all that Cosmao was able to effect. 


Hardly had the Franco-Spanish squadron gained 
the offing when down came the gale once more ; 
and at the same time they became aware of the 
approach of Collingwood himself with ten sail of 
the line, formed up by signal to cover the prizes. 
Daunted by such a show of force, the Franco- 
Spaniards turned back and made for Cadiz again. 
They lost on the way three of their number. 
The French " Indomptable," a big 80-gun two- 
decker, blundered across to Rota, on the northern 
side of Cadiz Bay, on Thursday morning, and was 
wrecked there. She had upwards of a thousand 
men on board, from all accounts, including extra 
hands intended to man the ships it was hoped 
to recapture. Apparently every man on board 
perished, including the survivors from the French 
flagship " Bucentaure " five officers and two 
hundred men. The "San Francisco de Asis," a 
Spanish 74, anchored outside safely, but parted 
her cables and drove ashore in Cadiz Bay, near 
Fort Sta. Catalina. The third ship, the Spanish 
three-decker "Rayo" of 100 guns, unable to regain 
Cadiz, anchored off San Lucar, some miles up the 
coast, rolled her masts overboard, and had to sur- 
render at discretion to the British 74 "Donegal" 
(Captain Sir Pulteney Malcolm), which came on the 
scene fresh from Gibraltar. The " Leviathan " was 
in company. " On a shot being fired at her, she 
hauled down her colours and surrendered." The 
" Rayo," three days later, while in charge of a 


prize crew, " after a number of her men had been 
removed from the ship, drove from her anchors 
and was totally lost. Many Spaniards, and some 
of the English officers and crew perished in her." 

The " Monarca," with her British prize crew on 
board, was drifting in a crippled state on to the 
dangerous shoals off San Lucar when she was over- 
taken, during Thursday afternoon (the 24th), by 
the "Leviathan." Sending his boats alongside, 
Captain Bayntun removed the prize crew and the 
greater number of the Spanish prisoners, and then 
anchored the " Monarca " for the night. Before 
morning, however, the ship broke away from 
her cables in a sudden squall, drove ashore and 
went to pieces. A party from the British " Bel- 
lerophon " had been in charge of the " Monarca," 
and a midshipman from that ship describes how 
the end came on. 

" You will imagine what have been our suffer- 
ings, in a crippled ship, with 500 prisoners on 
board and only 55 Englishmen, most of whom 
were in a constant state of intoxication. We 
rolled away all our masts except the foremast ; 
were afterwards forced to cut away 2 anchors, 
heave overboard several guns, shot, &c. to lighten 
her ; and were, after all, in such imminent danger 
of sinking that, seeing no ship near to assist us, we 
at length determined to run the ship on shore on 
the Spanish coast, which we should have done had 


not the Leviathan fortunately fallen in with us 
and saved us, and all but about 150 Spaniards. 
The ship then went ashore and was afterwards 

A letter, possibly from the same young officer, 
was published (without the writer's name) in a 
Portsmouth newspaper. It is dated " Bellerophon 
off the Start, Dec. 2, 1805," and gives terribly 
vivid details of the state of things on board the 
" Monarca." 

" Our second Lieutenant, myself, and eight men, 
formed the party that took possession of the 
Monarca : we remained until the morning without 
further assistance, or we should most probably 
have saved her, though she had suffered much 
more than ourselves. We kept possession of her, 
however, for four days, in the most dreadful 
weather, when, having rolled away all our masts, 
and being in danger of immediately sinking or 
running on shore, we were fortunately saved by 
the Leviathan, with all but about 150 prisoners, 
who were afraid of getting into the boats. I can 
assure you I felt not the least fear of death 
during the action, which I attribute to the general 
confidence of victory which I saw all around me ; 
but in the prize, when I was in danger of, and had 
time to reflect upon the approach of death, either 
from the rising of the Spaniards upon so small a 
number as we were composed of, or what latterly 
appeared inevitable, from the violence of the storm, 


I was most certainly afraid, and at one time, when 
the ship made three feet of water in ten minutes, 
when our people were almost all lying drunk upon 
deck, when the Spaniards, completely worn out 
with fatigue, would no longer work at the only 
chain pump left serviceable, when I saw the fear 
of death so strongly depicted on the countenances 
of all around me, I wrapped myself up in a Union 
Jack, and lay down upon deck for a short time, 
quietly awaiting the approach of death ; but the 
love of life soon after again roused me, and after 
great exertions on the part of the British and 
Spanish officers, who had joined together for the 
mutual preservation of their lives, we got the ship 
before the wind, determined to run her on shore : 
this was at midnight, but at daylight in the morn- 
ing, the weather being more moderate, and having 
again gained upon the water, we hauled our wind." 

The "Aigle" stranded off Port St. Mary's, and 
was wrecked during Friday night, after being forced 
by the weather into Cadiz Bay, in spite of every 
effort by the " Defiance " to keep her out. 

The "Berwick," on the afternoon of the 27th, 
"after having anchored in apparent safety, was 
wrecked off San Lucar, entirely owing to the 
frenzied behaviour of a portion of the prisoners, 
who cut the cables. The Donegal, being at 
anchor near by, cut her own cables, and, standing 
towards the drifting ship, sent her boats to save 


the people on board. This noble proceeding of 
Captain Malcolm was only partially successful, 
when the Berwick struck upon the shoal, and in 
her perished about 200 persons." l 

On the 24th of October the "Britannia," "Orion," 
and " Ajax," in pursuance of Collingwood's order, 
" Quit and withdraw men from prizes after having 
destroyed or disabled them," cleared the "Intre- 
pide" of the prisoners on board, and at eight 
o'clock that evening the "Britannia" set the empty 
hulk on fire. She blew up a little after nine 
o'clock. "At 8," in the words of the "Orion's" 
log, " received all the prisoners from on board her. 
At 8.30 perceived the fire to have taken. ... At 
9.30 the Intre'pide blew up." On the 27th and 
28th the " Orion " and the " Leviathan " took out 
prisoners from the "San Agustin," nearly three 
hundred men in number. On the 30th the 
"Leviathan" destroyed her, and with the "Ajax" 
sank the "Argonauta," "the finest two-decker in 
the world." Says the "Leviathan's" log: " October 
30th : Received some Warrant officers' stores from 
the San Agustin. Set her on fire; about 8, she 
blew up. The Argonauta was scuttled at her 

What remained of the wrecked ships was de- 

1 The figure-head of the c ' Berwick " was picked up floating in the 
surf and brought to England, where it was long preserved at Devon- 
port Dockyard. It was destroyed there in the great fire of September, 
1840, in which so many other historic relics of the fighting days of 
the Old Navy perished. 


stroyed on the morning of the 31st, when the 
British frigate "Naiad" set fire to the wrecks of 
the "Rayo" and "Neptuno" off San Lucar 
" both aground," in the words of the ship's log, "to 
the westward of San Lucar." The log proceeds : 
" Saw a French line of battle ship, the Berwick, 
74 guns, totally lost, having parted asunder amid- 
ships. November 1st a.m. At 1 observed the 
Neptuno blow up. At 4 the Rayo in full blaze. 
At 6 in boats. Weighed and made sail." So all 
Nelson's Trafalgar prizes except four perished. 

Four ships, one French and three Spanish, 
escaped destruction. "Four only remained as 
trophies of the victory, and these by cruel chance 
happened to be the most worthless. They were 
the (French) Swiftsure, the San Ildefonso, San 
Juan Nepomuceno and Bahama, but they made no 
effective addition to the English Navy." Their 
preservation, too, was only effected with great 
difficulty. The " Defence," after a very anxious 
time and a succession of mishaps, anchored with 
the " San Ildefonso," and " with four cables an 
end on one anchor and one on another " rode the 
storm out. The " Bahama," which the " Orion " 
had in charge, came within an ace of perishing. 
" I kept the Bahama with the poor lieutenant and 
his four men in tow," says Captain Codrington, 
" until the absolute necessity of getting the ship's 
head the other way obliged me to cast him off, 


and the opportunity of the violence of the wind 
abating a little, allowed of making the necessary 
sail to claw the ship off shore ; and you may judge 
of the pain I felt on seeing her signals of distress 
in consequence of being left in so hopeless a 
situation ! The necessity of the case, however, 
raised a little unusual exertion in the poor 
Spaniards, and, by getting up an anchor out of 
the hold and letting it go, they saved both the 
vessel and their lives ; and she is now in Gibraltar 
Mole, waiting the opportunity of going to England. 
She was finally saved by the unremitting exertions 
of the Donegal." The " San Ildefonso " and the 
" Bahama," with the ex-British " Swiftsure," were 
brought to England in May under escort of the 
" Britannia." l The " Bahama" and the " Swiftsure " 
(renamed somewhat meaninglessly the " Irresis- 
tible"), were made prison hulks in the Medway. 
The " San Ildefonso " was made a receiving hulk at 
Portsmouth. All three were broken up in 1816. 
The " San Juan Nepomuceno," an old ship, in her 
fortieth year at Trafalgar, was, as has been said, 
kept as a hulk at Gibraltar. 

None of the five French ships of the line which 
escaped into Cadiz harbour, it may be added, ever 
saw a French port again. Collingwood held them 
fast there until, in June, 1808, Spain rose against 
Napoleon. Admiral Rosily, who had remained 

1 They arrived at Spithead on the 16th of May, 1806, escorted 
by Lord Northesk with the " Britannia" and "Dreadnought." 


in command, with his squadron, unable to escape, 
were attacked at close quarters by the Spanish land 
batteries, and had to surrender at discretion. The 
Spanish Navy took over the ships, and found em- 
ployment for them as harbour hulks for many 
years. The last left, the " Heros," was broken 
up at Ferrol in 1860. Her ensign and Admiral 
Rosily's flag are now kept as trophies at the Naval 
Museum in Madrid. Most of the French seamen 
surrendered with their ships. The unfortunate 
fellows had just received orders to furnish a corps 
of four hundred men and march to Madrid to join 
the " Seamen of the Guard," which Marshal Junot 
had brought with him into Spain in his army of 
occupation, when the rising of the peasantry of 
Andalusia prevented their setting out ; and then 
came the debacle at Cadiz of the 14th of June, 1808. 



rpHE great prize of all to the British, the mighty 
-* " Santisima Trinidad " went or was sent to 
the bottom on the 24th. Collingwood had that 
morning signalled the order to destroy her and 
other prizes that it seemed impossible to save, but 
the accounts as to how the "Trinidad" actually 
came to her end, differ. One account says she was 
scuttled and sank at anchor. Another that she 
was destroyed as she was ' drifting unmanageable 
on to the coast." Before the end, every effort was 
made to save those on board and clear the ship of 
the wounded and prisoners. The wounded were 
got out of the ship by lowering them with ropes 
from the stern and quarter gallery windows 
into the boats of the British ships " Prince," 
" Neptune," and " Ajax." Whether all were got 
out of the ship is uncertain. The " Ajax's " lieu- 
tenant declared that they were. 

" Everything alive was taken out," he said, "down 
to the ship's cat. His boat was the last to leave. 
They had put off from the starboard quarter when 



a cat, the only living animal aboard, ran out on 
the muzzle of one of the lower-deck guns and by 
a plaintive mew seemed to beg for assistance : the 
boat returned and took her in." 

Midshipman Badcock, of the " Neptune," gives 
this account of how the " Santisima Trinidad " 
came to her end : 

" I was sent on board the " Santissima Trini- 
dada a few days after the action to assist in 
getting out the wounded men previous to destroy- 
ing her. She was a magnificent ship, and ought 
now to be in Portsmouth Harbour. Her top-sides 
it is true were perfectly riddled by our firing, and 
she had, if I recollect right, 550 killed and 
wounded, but from the lower part of the sills of 
the lower-deck ports to the water's edge, few shot 
of consequence had hurt her between wind and 
water, and those were all plugged up. She was 
built of cedar, and would have lasted for ages, 
a glorious trophy of the battle, but ' sink, burn, 
and destroy' was the order of the day, and after 
a great deal of trouble, scuttling her in many 
places, hauling up her lower-deck ports that when 
she rolled a heavy sea might fill her decks she 
did at last unwillingly go to the bottom." 

Says Captain Brenton, describing the end of the 
" Trinidad " :- 

"Night came on the swell ran high three 
lower-deck ports on each side were open, and in 
a few minutes the tremendous ruins of the largest 


ship in the world were buried in the deep. The 
waves passed over her, she gave a lurch, and went 

An officer of the "Prince," Lieutenant John 
Edwards, the third lieutenant, who was sent to the 
" Santisima Trinidad," and was one of the last to 
leave the ship, thus describes what he saw and his 
experiences on board : 

" All the necessary signals were made to leave 
the prizes, and we, being effective, took the Trini- 
dad, the largest ship in the world, in tow ; all the 
other ships that could render assistance to the dis- 
abled doing the same. Before four in the morn it 
blew so strong that we broke the hawsers twice, 
and from two such immense bodies as we were, 
found it difficult to secure her again ; however, 
every exertion was made, and we got her again. 
By eight in the morning it blew a hurricane on the 
shore, and so close in that we could not weather 
the land either way. 'Tis impossible to describe the 
horrors the morning presented, nothing but signals 
of distress flying in every direction, guns firing, 
and so many large ships driving on shore without 
being able to render them the least assistance. 
After driving about four days without any prospect 
of saving the ship or the gale abating, the signal 
was made to destroy the prizes. We had no time 
before to remove the prisoners, and it now became 
a most dangerous task ; no boats could lie along- 
side, we got under her stern, and the men dropped 


in by ropes ; but what a sight when we came to 
remove the wounded, which there were between 
three and four hundred. We had to tie the poor 
mangled wretches round their waists, or where we 
could, and lower them down into a tumbling boat, 
some without arms, others no legs, and lacerated 
all over in the most dreadful manner. About ten 
o'clock we had got all out, to about thirty-three 
or four, which I believe it was impossible to remove 
without instant death. The water was now at the 
pilot deck, the weather dark and boisterous, and 
taking in tons at every roll, when we quitted her, 
and supposed this superb ship could not remain 
afloat longer than ten minutes. Perhaps she sunk 
in less time, with the above unfortunate victims, 
never to rise again." 

The following incidents connected with the 
taking off of the Spaniards from the " Santisima 
Trinidad" are related by a seaman of the 
" Revenge " : 

" On quitting the ship our boats were so over- 
loaded in endeavouring to save all the lives we 
could, that it is a miracle they were not upset. A 
father and his son came down the ship's side to 
get on board one of our boats ; the father had 
seated himself, but the men in the boat, thinking 
from the load and the boisterous weather that all 
their lives would be in peril, could not think of 
taking the boy. As the boat put off the lad, as 
though determined not to quit his father, sprang 


from the ship into the sea and caught hold of the 
gunwale of the boat, but his attempt was resisted, 
as it risked all their lives ; and some of the men 
resorted to their cutlasses to cut his fingers off 
in order to disentangle the boat from his grasp. 
At the same time the feelings of the father were so 
worked upon that he was about to leap overboard 
and perish with his son. Britons could face an 
enemy but could not witness such a scene of self- 
devotion : as it were a simultaneous thought burst 
forth from the crew, which said, * Let us save both 
father and son or die in the attempt ! ' The 
Almighty aided their design, they succeeded and 
brought both father and son safe on board our 
ship where they remained, until with other prisoners 
they were exchanged at Gibraltar." 

The second incident of the last hours of the 
"Santisima Trinidad," taken from the same source, 
is the following: 

" We were obliged to abandon our prize, taking 
away with us all our men and as many of the 
prisoners as we could. On the last boat's load 
leaving the ship, the Spaniards who were left on 
board appeared on the gangway and ship's side, 
displaying their bags of dollars and doubloons 
and eagerly offering them as a reward for saving 
them from the expected and unavoidable wreck ; 
but however well inclined we were, it was not in 
our power to rescue them, or it would have been 
effected without the proffered bribe." 


This, according to Perez Galdos, in his " Trafal- 
gar," is what the Spanish prisoners went through 
on board the " Santisima Trinidad." The account 
is put in the mouth of the narrator whose descrip- 
tion of incidents of the battle has been previously 
quoted. The story, based as it is on historical 
documents, follows very closely what is generally 
known by us of the event : 

" Night fell, increasing the misery and horror of 
our situation. It might have been hoped that 
nature would be on our side after so much dis- 
aster, but, on the contrary, the elements lashed us 
with their fury as though Heaven thought our cup 
of misfortune was not yet full. A tremendous 
storm burst and the winds and waves tossed and 
buffeted our ship in their fury, while, as she 
could not be worked, she was utterly at their 
mercy. The rolling was so terrible that it was 
very difficult even to work the pumps ; and this, 
combined with the exhausted condition of the men, 
made our condition grow worse every minute. An 
English vessel, which we learnt was the Prince, 
tried to take us in tow, but her efforts were in vain 
and she was forced to keep off for fear of a colli- 
sion, which would have been fatal to both. 

"The same confusion prevailed below as on 
deck. Those who had escaped unhurt were doing 
what they could to aid the wounded, and these, 
disturbed by the motion of the vessel which pre- 
vented their getting any rest, were so pitiable a 


sight that it was impossible to resign oneself to 
sleep. On one side, covered with the Spanish 
flag, lay the bodies of the officers who had been 
killed ; and in the midst of all this misery, sur- 
rounded by so much suffering, these poor corpses 
seemed really to be envied. They alone on board 
the Trinidad were at rest, to them nothing mat- 
tered now ; fatigue and pain, the disgrace of defeat, 
or physical sufferings. The standard which served 
them as a glorious winding-sheet shut them out, 
as it were, from the world of responsibility, of 
dishonour, and of despair, in which we were left 
behind. They could not care for the danger the 
vessel was in, for to them it was no longer any- 
thing but a coffin. 

"Never shall I forget the moment when the 
bodies were cast into the sea, by order of the 
English officer in charge of the ship. The dismal 
ceremony took place on the morning of the 22nd, 
when the storm seemed to be at its wildest on 
purpose to add to the terrors of the scene. The 
bodies of the officers were brought on deck, the 
priest said a short prayer, for this was no time for 
elaborate ceremonial, and our melancholy task 
began. Each wrapped in a flag, with a cannon-ball 
tied to his feet, was dropped into the waves with- 
out any of the solemn and painful emotion which 
under ordinary circumstances would have agitated 


the lookers-on. Our spirits were so quelled by 
disaster that the contemplation of death had be- 
come almost indifference. 

"The sailors were thrown overboard with less 
ceremony. The regulation is that they shall be tied 
up in their hammocks, but there was no time to 
carry this out. Some indeed were wrapped round 
as the rules require, but most of them were thrown 
into the sea without any shroud or ball at their 
feet, for the simple reason that there was not 
enough for all. There were four hundred of them, 
more or less, and merely to clear them overboard 
and out of sight every able-bodied man that was 
left had to lend a hand, so as to get it done as 
quickly as possible. 

"As the day advanced the Prince attempted 
once more to take the Santisima Trinidad in 
tow, but with no better success than before. Our 
situation was no worse, although the tempest raged 
with undiminished fury, for a good deal of the 
mischief had been patched up, and we thought 
that if the weather should mend, the hulk, at any 
rate, might be saved. The English made a great 
point of it, for they were very anxious to take the 
largest man-of-war ever seen afloat into Gibraltar 
as a trophy ; so they willingly plied the pumps by 
night and by day and allowed us to rest awhile. 
All through the day on the 22nd the sea continued 


terrific, tossing the huge and helpless vessel as 
though it were a little fishing boat ; and the 
enormous mass of timber proved the soundness of 
her build by not simply falling to pieces under the 
furious lashing of the waters. At some moments 
she rolled so completely over on her beam ends 
that it seemed as though she must go to the 
bottom ; but suddenly the wave would fly off* 
in smoke, as it were, before the hurricane, while 
the ship, righting herself, rode over it with a toss 
of her mighty prow. 

" On all sides we could see the scattered fleets ; 
many of the ships were English, severely damaged 
and striving to get shelter under the coast. There 
were Frenchmen and Spaniards too, some dis- 
masted, others in tow of the enemy. . . . Floating 
about were myriads of fragments and masses of 
wreck spars, timbers, broken boats, hatches, bul- 
warks, and doors besides two unfortunate sailors 
who were clinging to a plank, and who must have 
been swept off and drowned if the English had 
not hastened to rescue them. They were brought 
on board more dead than alive, and their resuscita- 
tion after being in the very jaws of death was like 
a new birth to them. 

" That day went by between agonies and hopes : 
now we thought nothing could save the ship 
and that we must be taken on board an English- 
man, then again we hoped to keep her afloat. The 
idea of being taken into Gibraltar as prisoners was 


intolerable. However, all the torment of suspense, 
at any rate, was relieved by the evening, when it 
was unanimously agreed that if we were not 
transferred to an English ship at once, to the 
bottom we must go with the vessel, which had 
now five feet of water in the hold. The task was 
at once begun in the doubtful twilight, and as 
there were above three hundred wounded to be 
transferred it was no easy matter. The available 
number of hands was about five hundred, all that 
were left uninjured of the original crew of eleven 
hundred and fifteen before the battle. 

" We set to work promptly with the launches of 
the Trinidad and the Prince, and three other boats 
belonging to the English. The wounded were 
attended to first, but though they were lifted with 
all possible care they could not be moved without 
much suffering, and some entreated with groans 
and shrieks to be left in peace, preferring imme- 
diate death to anything that could aggravate and 
prolong then' torments. But there was no time for 
pity, and they were carried to the boats as ruth- 
lessly as the cold corpses of their comrades had 
been flung into the sea. 

" I thought only of saving my life, and to stay 
on board a foundering vessel was not the best 
means to that end. Nor were my fears ill-founded ; 
for not more than half the men had been taken 
off when a dull roar of terror echoed through 
the ship. 



" * She is going to the bottom I to the boats, to 
the boats ! ' shouted some, and there was a rush 
to the ship's side, all looking out eagerly for 
the return of the boats. Every attempt at work 
or order was given up, the wounded were for- 
gotten, and several who had been brought on 
deck dragged themselves to the side in a sort of 
delirium, to seek an opening and throw themselves 
into the sea. Up through the hatchways came a 
hideous shriek, which I think I can hear as I write. 
It came from the poor wretches on the lower 
deck, who already felt the waters rising to drown 
them and vainly cried for help to God or men 
who can tell ? Vainly indeed to men, for they had 
enough to do to save themselves. They jumped 
wildly into the boats, and this confusion in the 
darkness hindered progress." 

[There is a canvas in one of the galleries of the 
Museo Naval at Madrid, depicting the sinking of 
the " Santisima Trinidad " after Trafalgar, and 
showing the boats of the British ships engaged in 
their work of rescue.] 



AT Cadiz, all through that dreadful Monday 
" afternoon, the crowd of watchers, gazing sea- 
ward from the nuradores and azoteas and the house 
roofs and from the city ramparts, could see the 
smoke of the firing along the horizon to the south- 
west, and hear, hour after hour, the dull rever- 
berating thunder of the guns. Far and wide the 
heavy booming of the cannonade re-echoed inland, 
we are told, across nearly half Andalusia ; over 
the orange groves and cork woods of Medina 
Sidonia, name of ill-omen on such a day as that, 
along the hillsides of Conil, and away, indeed, 
to the distant mountain caves of Ronda. At 
Gibraltar, off the direct course of the wind as it 
then held, they heard nothing all day. From 
Tangier they both saw smoke and heard distant 
firing. An old Moor died just ten years ago who 
well remembered, as a boy, sitting with others on 
a hillside near the city, listening with wonder to 
the sullen thunder that came up from beyond the 
sea-line afar, and watch ng a strange, low, grey 



smoke-cloud that rose like a mound at one point 
on the horizon to the north-west. 

Two letters from Cadiz, received in London by 
the Lisbon packet of the 15th of November say 
something of what those on shore saw, and de- 
scribe, with some detail, how the first news of the 
fate of the battle arrived. 

The first ran as follows : 

"OcT. 21. At ten in the morning, the Combined 
Squadron formed in line, standing on a course to 
the Straits, in sight of the English ; the latter 
endeavoured to cut the line, and effected it, which 
threw it into confusion : a cannonade commenced, 
which lasted from two o'clock in the afternoon till 
evening ; and in the morning of the 22d, there 
anchored between Rota and the Castle of St. 
Catharine, the Principe de Asturias, with the loss 
of her top-gallant ; the Leandro, with only her 
foremast standing ; the Rayo and two others ; as 
also seven French ships, with four frigates and two 
brigs : of all the rest of the squadron nothing is 
POSITIVELY known, but from the obscurity of the 
horizon, with continual rain and bad weather from 
the Southward, those which are missing and dis- 
masted are not alone in danger, but also those 
which have anchored, if the weather continues. 
The wounded are not yet landed on account of the 
bad weather. Admiral Gravina remains on board 
with a wound in his arm : Admiral Escano has a 
wound in his leg, which is considered dangerous ; 


the ship which blew up was L'Achille (French) ; 
it is said her commander is a prisoner ; the Trini- 
dad was dismasted, and the St. Anne taken. 
Nelson gained his end at the expence of rendering 
useless his own ship and two others. The action, 
it is said, was renewed on the 22d in the morning, 
after such a manner, that it is believed many of 
the English ships are reduced to mere hulks. The 
misfortune is, that we have not enough of small 
ships able to give assistance. As soon as the 
weather clears up, and we know exactly what has 
happened, I will inform you." 

The second added certain other particulars : 
" OCT. 23. The Combined Squadron began to 
get under sail on the 19th instant, with a wind 
at N.N.E. At ten a.m. it changed to w. and not 
being able to make any way, those which got out 
remained in sight. On the 20th at daybreak, the 
wind got to the Southward, which enabled the 
whole squadron to get out, so that at ten o'clock 
they were all united. The wind was fresh, the 
horizon dark and close, with rain, so that they 
were soon lost sight of. In the afternoon it was 
calm ; they stood on towards the Southward, and 
on Monday the 21st shaped their course for the 
Straits. At two p.m. they commenced a severe 
action with the English at the distance of five or 
six leagues from this port, which lasted till Vespers. 
We saw a ship blow up, but we are yet ignorant 
what she was. This morning there anchored at 


the mouth of this harbour the first Squadron of 
Observation, with some French frigates and brigs. 
The result, it appears, is not favourable. There 
are various reports. They are landing the wounded. 

"It is said that Gravina has lost an arm, and 
Admiral Escano a leg. New rigging is getting on 
board, and, according to appearances, they are 
going to sail again in quest of the missing ships. 
The weather is rainy and gloomy, with the wind 
at south, all contrary to those unfortunates, who 
are at sea still. May God have pity on them! My 
Friend, an unlucky sailing, but a worse lot ! a bad 
result, and a sad painful day for Cadiz ! " 

This is what a letter from Cadiz, written on the 
25th of October, says : 

"There is no doubt, that Nelson and his English- 
men have gained a complete and decisive victory, 
and that our Fleet has been, all of it, absolutely 
destroyed. The number of killed and wounded is 
from 10 to 12,000. Villeneuve taken prisoner, 
Magon killed, Gravina severely wounded in the 
arm, Escano in the leg, and Alava in the head : 
Cisneros and Dumanoir are by some reported to 
have been made prisoners, by others to have been 
killed. Out of the thirty-three Ships which left 
this Port, only nine or ten have re-entered it, and 
that in so miserable and shattered condition, that 
the hulls of some are almost unserviceable. The 
rest of the Fleet have been either taken, burnt, or 
sunk. In the offing some are seen dismasted, 


which the English have manned and are towing 
away. Two or three have run ashore on the coast, 
without the possibility of receiving any assistance, 
in consequence of the furious tempest which raged 
immediately after the battle. In the Playa the 
sea is continually throwing up portions of wreck, 
together with numbers of dead bodies, all of which 
increases the desolate aspect of that shore." 

Another letter, written on the 29th, speaks of 
the pitiable plight of the hapless remnant of 
French soldiers landed from the ships that escaped: 
"Scarcely a third part remains of the French 
troops who were embarked on board the Fleet, 
and it is really heart-rending to see their soldiers 
wandering about the streets." 

According to Admiral Rosily's first letter, sent 
off to Beurnonville, the French Ambassador at 
Madrid, on the 26th, the day after he arrived at 
Cadiz, this was what was then known, or believed, 
there, of the losses on either side: "Two ships, 
understood to be English, have been wrecked at 
the mouth of the Guadalquivir, and one has been 
burned. The Colossus has been blown up (Le 
Colossus a saute en 1'air). A good deal of wreckage 
from other English ships has been found along 
the coast. Nelson has been killed. Twenty-three 
ships on both sides have been dismasted. On the 
French side Admiral Villeneuve has yielded himself 
a prisoner. His ship, however, has re-entered 
Cadiz harbour under the French flag, after which 


she sank. The Fougueux has been wrecked on the 
coast, and another French ship blown up. Admiral 
Magon and Captains Gourrege and Poulain have 
been killed. Gravina and Escano are badly 
wounded. It is impossible to get full accounts or 
reports of losses owing to the storm, and also as 
nothing has as yet been received from some of the 

The news of the disaster reached Corunna and 
Ferrol on the evening of the 5th of November. 
It came with a stunning shock on everybody. 
Seven of the fifteen Spanish ships in the battle had 
been manned at Corunna and Ferrol : the flagship 
" Principe de Asturias," the " San Juan Nepomu- 
ceno," the "Monarca" the "Montanez," and the 
" San Agustin," " San Francisco de Asis," and the 
" San Ildefonso." Only the " Principe " and 
"Montanez" remained under the flag of Spain, 
and both were lying in a pitiable state, disabled 
fugitives, in Cadiz harbour. The others had either 
been captured or wrecked, with what loss of life 
they dared hardly contemplate. Above all, Chur- 
ruca was gone, the idol of the sailors of northern 
Spain, their own commodore, who, as senior officer 
at Ferrol, had fitted the ships out to join Gravina. 
Of the French Fleet, too, five of the ships and 
their officers were well known at Ferrol, where 
for the past two years they had been lying ; the 


" Argonaute " and the " Redoutable " and the 
" Heros," the " Fougueux " and the " Duguay 
Trouin." Of these, three had been taken, one 
only was at Cadiz, one had gone off with Admiral 
Dumanoir, it was believed. 

This is what a neutral skipper (a Swede) told 
the captain of the " Bellona," who fell in with the 
Swedish merchantman off Cape Finisterre at ten 
at night on the 8th of November, as reported to 
Cornwallis off Brest: "He sailed from Corunna 
on Wednesday, the 6th instant, a.m., and at 
6 o'clock the evening preceding, the post had 
arrived at Cadiz with such information that caused 
a general consternation, alarm, bustle, and despon- 
dency in all ranks of people that it was impossible 
for him to describe, occasioned by the account 
brought by the post of an action fought between 
[sic'] the Combined Fleets of France and Spain, 
which, he said, to the best of his recollection, for he 
saw the account and read it, had sailed from Cadiz 
on the 22nd or 23rd ulto., and he thought the 
action, to the best of his recollection, for all was 
hurry and agitation, was fought about the 28th. 
But so great was the confusion and dismay that he 
could not charge his memory with the exact dates, 
or get any minute information except what he 
here related. . . . He said the account stated it to 
have been the most obstinate and determined 
battle ever fought, and that, except the list of a 
very few of their ships which had arrived, which 


list he read, that it was feared by the Spaniards 
that all the rest were either taken or destroyed. 
He saw a list of 22 sail of the line which were 
missing. He stated that the Santisima Trinidad 
had fallen into the hands of the English and that 
one French 74 had blown up in the action ; 
this was seen to have taken place by the ships 
which had returned. Admiral Gravina had lost 
his arm, and the captain of his ship had lost his 
leg, both of whom had arrived at Cadiz." l 

We have this about the state of things on 
shore, in the vicinity of Cadiz and Trafalgar Bay 
during the week or ten days that succeeded the 
battle. The coast for some miles up and down 
was watched by patrols on horseback, distributed 
along the beach, with burying parties posted at 
intervals here and there. On the mounted men 
discovering bodies washed ashore, they signalled to 
the men on foot, who came down and dug holes 
in the sand into which they dragged the dead. 

In Cadiz itself, for ten days after the battle, 
they were busy bringing the wounded ashore, and 
horrible and sad scenes were to be witnessed at 
the wharves, and in the streets the litters of 
wounded, some of the poor fellows crying out as 
they were carried along. Most of the Spanish 
gentlefolk assisted to the utmost by their personal 
exertions. The hospitals were filled, and several 

1 Navy Records Society: "Blockade of Brest/' II, pp. 367-8. 


churches and convents had to be appropriated. 
Everywhere about the city were to be met women 
in tears, while many of the sailors who had 
escaped spent their time wandering to and fro, 
aimlessly, apparently not knowing where to go. 

The churches were filled with the anxious 
relatives of officers and men who were missing, 
unaware, as yet, of what fate had actually befallen 
those whose ships had not come back. Masses, 
for the repose of the souls of the fallen, were 
being chanted, meanwhile, day after day, for those 
who were known to have been killed, in anticipa- 
tion of the solemn official funeral service, to be 
held later, when fuller returns had come in. That 
took place on the 21st of November, at the Church 
of the Convent of the Carmen (the principal 
church of Cadiz during the rebuilding of the 
cathedral), at the expense of Admirals Gravina, 
Alava, and Cisneros, conjointly with Admiral 
Rosily and the Governor-General, the Marquis 
de la Solano, who, with his staff and suite, and as 
many naval and military officers as could be 
present, attended in full state. 

An Englishman, a merchant, who happened to 
arrive at Cadiz shortly after the battle, recorded 
hi a letter some of the things that he saw. 

"Ten days after the battle, they were still 
employed bringing ashore the wounded ; and 
spectacles were hourly displayed at the wharfs, 
and through the streets, sufficient to shock every 


heart not yet hardened to scenes of blood and 
human suffering. When, by the carelessness of 
the boatmen, and the surging of the sea, the boats 
struck against the stone piers, a horrid cry, which 
pierced the soul, arose from the mangled wretches 
on board. Many of the Spanish gentry assisted in 
bringing them ashore, with symptoms of much 
compassion, yet as they were finely dressed, it had 
something of the appearance of ostentation ; if 
there could be ostentation at such a moment. It 
need not be doubted that an Englishman lent a 
willing hand to bear them up the steps to their 
litters, yet the slightest false step made them 
shriek out, and I even yet shudder at the re- 
membrance of the sound. On the top of the pier 
the scene was affecting. The wounded were carried 
away to the hospitals in every shape of human 
misery, whilst crowds of Spaniards either assisted 
or looked on with signs of horror. Meanwhile, 
their companions, who had escaped unhurt, walked 
up and down with folded arms and downcast eyes, 
whilst women sat upon heaps of arms, broken 
furniture, and baggage, with their heads bent 
between their knees. I had no inclination to 
follow the litters of the wounded, yet I learned 
that every hospital in Cadiz was already full, and 
that convents and churches were forced to be ap- 
propriated to the reception of the remainder. If, 
leaving the harbour, I passed through the town 
to the Point, I still beheld the terrible effects of 


the battle. As far as the eye could reach, the 
sandy side of the isthmus bordering on the 
Atlantic was covered with masts and yards, the 
wrecks of ships, and here and there the bodies of 
the dead. Among others I noticed a topmast 
marked with the name of the Swiftsure, and the 
broad arrow of England, which only increased my 
anxiety to know how far the English had suffered, 
the Spaniards still continuing to affirm that they 
(the English) had lost their chief admiral, and half 
their fleet. While surrounded by these wrecks, I 
mounted on the cross-trees of a mast which had 
been thrown ashore, and casting my eyes over the 
ocean, beheld, at a great distance, several masts 
and portions of wreck floating about. As the sea 
was now almost calm, with a light swell, the effect 
produced by these objects had in it something of 
a sublime melancholy, and touched the soul with 
a remembrance of the sad vicissitudes of human 
affairs. The portions of floating wreck were 
visible from the ramparts, yet not a boat dared 
to venture out to examine or endeavour to tow 
them in, such were the apprehensions which still 
filled their minds of the enemy." 

To this day at Conil, a little township, the 
nearest inhabited place to Cape Trafalgar, from 
which it is distant about seven English miles, the 
older folks will repeat to the visitor what their 
grandfathers told them about the finding of the 
bodies along the coast and wreckage as it was 




washed in. A 
rough and stony 
across an arid 
stretch of coun- 
try is all that 
there is and 
was in 1805 
between Conil 
and the head- 
land, whence, 
as the wayfarer 
arrives, he looks 
down over a 
ten -mile sweep 
of open sandy 
beach fringing 
the wide curve 
of coast-line be- 
tween Trafalgar 

and Cape Roque to northward, in the direction 
of Cadiz. There the dead lay thickly, drifting up 
for days after the storm with every tide, inter- 


Whence the Spanish coast-signalmen watched the progress 
of the battle from hour to hour 


mingled with broken fragments of ships and gear. 
The old watch-tower of Castilobo dating from 
Moorish times whence look-out men gazed on 
the fight on the horizon all that Monday afternoon, 
still stands, more or less in a dilapidated state 
nowadays. Not far off are the remains of a later 
tower, called locally Torre Nueva, also used at the 
time of Trafalgar as a look-out post, with barracks 
of the carabineers in rear. At the point there 
used to stand another tower whence at night a 
fire beacon blazed ; but that was pulled down to 
make way for the comparatively modern light- 
house that now marks Cape Trafalgar. 

Nothing could be more kindly and humane than 
the demeanour of the Spaniards to those officers 
and men from the British Fleet whom the storm 
threw into their hands in recaptured prizes, or who 
escaped to shore with their lives from wrecked 

Two instances may be cited as typical of the 
rest. One is recorded by Captain Codrington of 
the British " Orion," with regard to the experiences 
of the master of his ship, who was taken ashore 
from the wreck of the " Rayo." He had been sent 
on board the prize before she broke adrift. 

"The poor Spaniards behaved very creditably 
indeed : they not only sent boats for them (English 
and all) as soon as the weather moderated, with 
bread and water for their immediate relief; but 


when the boat, in which the Master of the ship 
was sent, had got into Cadiz harbour a carriage 
was backed into the water for him to step into 
from the boat, all sorts of cordials and confec- 
tionery were placed in the carriage for him, and 
clean linen, bed, etc. prepared for him at a lodging 
on shore : added to which the women and priests 
presented him with delicacies of all sorts as the 
carriage passed along the streets. In short, he 
says, and with very great truth, that had he been 
wrecked on any part of the English coast he would 
never have received half the attention which he 
did from these poor Spaniards, whose friends we 
had just destroyed in such numbers." 

The second narrative is from a seaman of the 
" Spartiate," who was sent, he says, as one of the 
prize crew on board another Spanish ship which 
drove ashore near Cadiz. 

"We sent the prisoners ashore first, and then 
followed ourselves afterwards, and by four o'clock 
the next morning we all got safe on shore. 

" Now the Spanish prisoners, that had come on 
shore first, some of them had been and seen their 
friends, and, as daylight came on, they came down 
to assist us, which they did, for they brought us 
some bread, and some figs, and some wine, to 
refresh us, which we wanted very much, for we 
had scarcely tasted anything the last twenty-four 
hours, and the Spaniards behaved very kind to us. 
As for myself, after I had eaten some bread and 


fruit, and drank some wine, I tried to get up, but 
I could not, and one of the Spaniards, seeing the 
state I was in, was kind enough to get two or three 
more of his companions, and lifted me up in one 
of the bullock-carts in which they had brought 
down the provisions for us, and covered me up 
with one of their great ponchos, and he tapped me 
on the shoulder, and said, ' Bono English ! ' And, 
being upon the cart, I was out of the wind and 
rain for it blew a heavy gale of wind and I felt 
myself quite comfortable, only my leg pained me 
a good deal ; but, thanks be to God, I soon fell 
into a sound sleep, and, as I heard afterwards, the 
French soldiers came down and marched the rest 
of my shipmates up to Cadiz, and they put them 
into the Spanish prison. As for my part, I was 
taken up to Cadiz, in the bullock-cart, and my 
kind friend took me to his own house, and had 
me put to bed, where I found myself when I 

Officially also, an interchange of courtesies be- 
tween the British Fleet and the Spanish authorities 
at Cadiz was taking place, the outcome of a tact- 
ful and courteously worded message sent by 
Collingwood to the Governor of the city. 1 Said 

1 Collingwood opened the negotiations within a week of the battle 
by sending in Captain Blackwood with a flag of truce to the Governor. 
He was received in the most friendly way and dined and slept at the 
Governor's. So amicable did relations become that immediately after- 
wards the Marquis de la Solatia sent out to Collingwood a cask of wine, 


Collingwood himself, writing home ten days after 
Trafalgar, of the arrangement, and of the kind- 
ness and generosity displayed by all at Cadiz 
to the British officers and men shipwrecked in 
the prizes : 

"To alleviate the miseries of the wounded as 
much as in my power, I sent a flag to the Marquis 
Solana, to offer him his wounded. Nothing can 
exceed the gratitude expressed by him for this act 
of humanity ; all this part of Spain is in an uproar 
of praise and thankfulness to the English. Solana 
sent me a present of a cask of wine, and we have 
a free intercourse with the shore. Judge of the 
footing we are on, when I tell you he offered me 
his hospitals, and pledged the Spanish honour for 
the care and cure of our wounded men. Our 
officers and men who were wrecked in some prize 
ships were most kindly treated : all the country 
was on the beach to receive them, the priests and 
women distributing wine, and bread, and fruit, 
amongst them. The soldiers turned out of their 
barracks to make lodging for them." 

and followed it up with a large supply of fruit melons, grapes, figs, 
and pomegranates, adding that he would send more in a day or two, 
and any other fruit that might be fancied. Collingwood, on his part, 
returned the courtesy with the best he had at disposal, a cheddar cheese 
and a cask of porter. Later, when the first report of Admiral Gravina's 
death reached Gibraltar, Colliugwood wrote off to Cadiz a most kindly 
and sympathetic letter, which, for its eulogy of the dead officer, was 
received with the highest appreciation. 



THE battle was fought on Monday, the 21st of 
October. The first authentic news of it, and 
of Nelson's death, only reached London on Wed- 
nesday, the 6th of November, at one in the 

A rumour, based on a newspaper paragraph, 
that there had been fighting at Cadiz, had been 
current in London for three or four days previously, 
but nothing was known as to what had taken 
place. In the "Morning Post" of the 2nd of 
November an editorial note stated that it was 
reported, on the authority of letters said to 
have been received from Lisbon, that "Lord 
Nelson had succeeded in destroying a great part of 
the Combined Fleet in the harbour of Cadiz " ; but 
the Editor felt it his duty to add this : " Though 
from the enterprising character of the noble 
Admiral we cannot consider this rumour as im- 
probable, we cannot at present attach any credit 
to it, from the circumstances of no advice whatever 



upon the subject having been received at the 

As a fact, the ship bringing the news of Trafal- 
gar was not yet in the Channel. England, and 
indeed all Europe, was thinking of something else. 

The startling, and totally unexpected, news had 
just reached London of the complete overthrow of 
the first great army of the European coalition 
against Napoleon. The fate of the Continent was 
in the camp of General Mack at Ulm, it had 
been said : Mack himself was a scientific strategist 
of world-wide reputation; his troops were the 
pick of the Austrian army the best appointed 
and disciplined soldiers of the time. Five days 
before the "Morning Post" published its rumour 
about Nelson at Cadiz, an empty boat had been 
towed out by a French pinnace from Boulogne 
and ostentatiously abandoned in full view of the 
English frigates cruising off the harbour. It was 
picked up, and in the boat was found a packet 
addressed : " To the Commodore of the English 
Squadron." Inside was a letter, on the cover of 
which was scrawled : " Commodore Robin has the 
pleasure of communicating this good news to the 
Commodore of the English Squadron." The 
single sheet enclosed bore on one side this, written 
in large characters : " L'Armee Autrichienne, forte 
de cent mille hommes, est detruite. Le Gen. en 
Chef Mack lui-meme est fait prisonnier a Ulm, et le 


Prince Ferdinand est en fuite." On the other side 
was a translation : " The Army of the Austrians, 
strong of one hundred thousand, is no more. The 
General in Chief Mack is himself a prisoner in 
Ulm, and Prince Ferdinand is put to flight." 
Following on that, two days before the " Morning 
Post's " Cadiz rumour, copies of the " Gazette de 
Paris " reached London (via Hamburg), stating 
positively that accounts had been received " of the 
total defeat of the Austrian army, the capitulation 
of the garrison of Ulm, and the surrender of 
Forty Thousand of the Austrian troops, who were 
made Prisoners of War." It seemed incredible. 
"Until further accounts arrive from Paris," said 
the " Times," " we shall not despair. Our anxiety 
is excessive, but we are sustained." The leader 
writer had hardly laid down his pen when letters 
came in that left no shadow of doubt as to 
the awful magnitude of the disaster. The horror- 
stricken Editor announced it, as he said, "with 
the deepest anguish." "General Mack with the 
whole of the Austrian staff are prisoners of war. 
. . . The whole of the Austrian Army is repre- 
sented as being nearly destroyed : not a vestige 
of what might be termed an efficient corps re- 
mained. Those who escaped the sword or the 
chains of the enemy, all who were not among 
the number of the killed, wounded, or prisoners, 
were broken into puny detachments, and scattered 


into various directions. Such is the state into 
which the accounts from Holland represent the 
Austrian army of between seventy and eighty 
thousand men to have fallen." 

That was what was uppermost in the minds of 
everybody in England during the first five days of 
November, 1805 : consternation at the unexpected 
blow that, at the outset, had fallen on Pitt's elabor- 
ately engineered European coalition. Was Eng- 
land again to see the bayonets of Napoleon's 
legionaries at Boulogne, vengeful and flushed with 
the incitement of unparalleled conquests, while 
Europe behind them looked on idly, tamed and 
prostrate ? 

Meanwhile, the wives and relatives of those in 
Nelson's fleet off Cadiz had, in addition, their own 
personal anxieties of another kind. The fierce 
Atlantic storm that wrecked so many of Nelson's 
prizes in the week after the battle, raged far and 
wide along the seaboard of western Europe, and 
reached as far north even as our own shores ; 
causing not a little uneasiness among the wives 
and friends of those in the fleets at sea, as private 
letters exist to testify. It was so, we know, with 
those living along the south coast to westward 
of the Isle of Wight. To this hour the wide- 
spread havoc of the Trafalgar week's storm is a 
tradition among the cottagers of the Dorset shore, 


stamped in local memory by the coincidences of 
the event. 

In the wild October night-time, when the wind raved 

round the land, 
And the Back-Sea met the Front-Sea, and our doors 

were blocked with sand, 
And we heard the drub of Dead-man's Bay, where the 

bones of thousands are, 
We knew not what the day had done for us at 


One can fancy the Hardy ladies, the sisters of 
Nelson's flag-captain, in their little home at Portis- 
ham, within sight and hearing of the Channel 
waves, listening with anxious hearts to the howling 
gusts and the dull, incessant roaring of the sea that 
came up across Blackdown from the direction of 
Chesil Beach. 

Collingwood sent off his first Trafalgar despatch 
on Sunday, the 27th of October ; on the very 
day that the empty boat with the news of the 
catastrophe at Ulm was picked up off Boulogne. 
Six days had gone by since the battle, but it 
was the first opportunity he had had of getting 
the despatch off. At half-past twelve that day 
the " Pickle," an 8-gun schooner, Lieutenant 
Lapenotiere in command, left the fleet for Eng- 
land with Collingwood's public letter. 1 The voyage 

1 Collingwood's selection of so junior an officer as a lieutenant to 
carry the Trafalgar despatch home, has been criticized. It is accounted 
for by the family in this way, adopting the words of his granddaughter, 
Miss Lapenotiere of Clifton. " Lieutenant La Penotiere had the 


was rough, and a hard beat for most of the way, 
and took nine days. Off Cape Finisterre they had 
to heave four of their guns overboard, and through- 
out the day on the 1st of November all hands 
were at the pumps and baling water out. To the 
south-west of the Scilly Isles, on the 2nd, they ran 
into a streak of dead calm, and had to use sweeps 
to keep the " Pickle's " head in the right direction. 
Then bad weather and squalls came on again. So 
the news of Trafalgar was brought to England. 
Two vessels were spoken on the voyage ; the 
"Nautilus " (" Notlis " the " Pickle's" log spells the 
name), off the Tagus, and the " Superb," Captain 
Keats, to southward of the Land's End. The 
" Nautilus " ran into Lisbon with the news. Keats 
and his "Superbs" "Nelsonians" to a man 
were on their way for Cadiz, hoping against hope 
to be in time for the expected battle. Deep groans 

command of the schooner Pickle, and did good work on the eve of the 
battle of Trafalgar, taking his ship in among the enemy's fleet and 
reporting their number and position. When a young man he had 
been a passenger on board a ship which also conveyed Lord Colling- 
wood. An order was given on deck to the man at the wheel, 
and he saw that if obeyed the ship would be on the rocks. He 
instantly gave another order and saved the ship. Lord Collingwood 
thanked him and said : c If ever I have the opportunity I will do you 
a service. ' After the action at Trafalgar he sent for him and reminded 
him of his promise, adding : ' Now take these despatches to England ; 
you will receive 500 and your commander's commission. Now I have 
kept my word.'" The La Penotiere family came to England at the 
Revolution of 1688, with " Dutch William," and both the father and 
grandfather of the commander of the " Pickle " served in the Royal 
Navy. The name is to be found in the navy lists of William III and 
Queen Anne. 


throughout the ship, we are told, and openly shed 
tears from many, greeted Lieutenant Lapenotiere's 
intelligence of Nelson's death, which the "Pickle's" 
commander personally delivered to Captain Keats. 
Proceeding, the Lizard lights were sighted ahead 
at two in the morning on the 4th. The Manacles 
were on the beam between seven and eight. At a 
quarter to ten, off Pendennis Castle, the " Pickle " 
shortened sail and hove-to. A boat was 'at once 
lowered, and Lieutenant Lapenotiere went on 
shore with his despatches, to post off at once for 

Beyond the bare fact of the victory and Nelson's 
death, little was told at Falmouth. Lapeno- 
tiere was off within half an hour of landing ; and 
as soon as he stepped ashore his boat pulled back 
to the "Pickle," which before two o'clock was 
under sail for Plymouth Sound. There was no 
semaphore telegraph in 1805 farther west than 
Portsmouth. They had begun setting up stations 
between London and Plymouth, but the line was 
not yet in working order. 

Lieutenant Lapenotiere was on his way by noon : 
taking the post road by Truro, Liskeard, Tavi- 
stock, across Dartmoor, by Post-bridge to Chag- 
ford and Exeter ; and thence along the coach 
road by Honiton, Axminster, Crewkerne, Yeovil, 
Sherborne, Salisbury, Andover, Basingstoke, to 
London. He changed horses nineteen times along 
the 266 miles of his route. So the Trafalgar des- 



patches travelled to London; in the everyday way. 
Nobody guessed that the ordinary-looking post- 
chaise, with a quiet-mannered naval lieutenant 
seated inside, was bearing the most momentous 
and interesting news that ever reached the shores 

(From a silhouette in the possession of his granddaughter, Miss Lapenotiere) 

of England. The roads were good going no 
rain had fallen in the south of England since 
the 30th of October and excellent time was 
kept. The post-chaise drew up at the gates of 
the Admiralty at one o'clock in the morning of the 
6th of November. 

As it did so, another post-chaise raced up. It 


conveyed another officer, bearing the same news. 
He was Captain Sykes of the "Nautilus," which 
the " Pickle " had faUen in with off the Tagus, to 
whom Lieutenant Lapenotiere had imparted his 
intelligence. The "Nautilus" had run straight into 
Lisbon, and had been thence sent off to England 
by the British Ambassador. Landing at Plymouth, 
Captain Sykes had posted to London, and his con- 
veyance arrived at the Admiralty as Lieutenant 
Lapenotiere's chaise was pulling up. 

Of the dramatic scene that followed, and how the 
news was broken to the First Lord in his bedroom, 
we have an eye-witness's account from no less a 
personage than Mr. Marsden, the First Secretary 
of the Board of Admiralty himself. 

" Admiral Collingwood's important despatches," 
he says, " were delivered to me about one o'clock 
a.m. of the 6th of November, when I was in the 
act of withdrawing from the Board Room to my 
private apartments." Mr. Marsden was informed 
that an officer had just arrived with important 
despatches, and the officer was shown in at once. 

One can imagine the scene. A large, lofty 
room, decorated with carved friezework and tall 
Ionic pilasters at the sides, the curtains drawn 
closely, and everything very still the dead of 
night: the fire burning low or flickering fitfully 
out : dim shadows in the background on either 
hand, beyond the gleam of light cast by the 
tall wax candles on the long table in the 


centre of the room, piled with tied-up docu- 
ments. An elderly gentleman in deshabille, 
somewhat of the prim official type, the sole occu- 
pant of the room, has just risen wearily from his 
chair at the table and turns away with a sigh of 
relief as he casts round his last glance for the night 
at the bundles of returns he has been for hours 
laboriously perusing, to take up his chamber 
candlestick and shuffle off at last to bed. 1 Suddenly 
there is a sharp knock. The door opens abruptly 
and the night porter announces and ushers in 
a naval officer in uniform ; travel- worn and show- 
ing traces of fatigue, but with an air of suppressed 
emotion in every feature of his countenance. A 
moment's pause, and then the officer, without word 
of preface or personal introduction, in a very grave 
tone accosts the wondering Secretary : " Sir, we 
have gained a great victory, but we have lost Lord 
Nelson ! " 

" In accosting me," describes the Secretary to 
the Admiralty, "the officer used these impressive 
words: ' Sir, we have gained a great victory, but we 
have lost Lord Nelson !' The effect thus produced 
it is not to my purpose to describe ; nor had I 
time to indulge in reflections, who was at that 
moment the only person informed of one of the 
greatest events recorded in our history, and which 

1 Between May, 1803, and the end of 1806 Mr. Marsden, as he 
himself has placed on record, never for one single night was able 
to sleep away from the Admiralty. 


it was my duty to make known with the utmost 

The First Lord of the Admiralty, Lord Barham, 
had to be informed at once, and Mr. Marsden. 
leaving Lapenotiere by himself, set out, candle 
in hand, to find his bedroom in the big building. 

"The First Lord," he says, "had retired to rest, 
as had his domestics, and it was not until after 
some research that I could discover the room in 
which he slept. Drawing aside his curtains with a 
candle in my hand, I woke the old peer from 
a sound slumber, and to the credit of his nerves 
be it mentioned that he showed no symptom of 
alarm or surprise, but calmly asked, * What news, 
Mr. Marsden ? ' We then discussed, in few words, 
what was to be done, and I sat up the remainder 
of the night with such of the clerks as I could 
collect, in order to make the necessary communica- 
tions, at an early hour, to the King, Prince of 
Wales, Duke of York, the Ministers and other 
members of the Cabinet, and to the Lord Mayor, 
who communicated the intelligence to the shipping 
interest at Lloyd's Coffee House. A notice for 
the Royal salute was also necessary." 

"Never," says Sir John Barrow, the Second 
Secretary, who learned the news on arriving at the 
Admiralty next morning, " can I forget the shock 
I received on opening the Board Room door 
the morning after the arrival of the despatches, 
when Marsden called out : ' Glorious news ! The 


most glorious victory our brave navy has ever 
achieved but Nelson is dead ! ' The vivid recol- 
lection of my interview with his incomparable 
man, and the idea that I was probably the last 
person he had taken leave of in London, left an im- 
pression of gloom on my mind that required some 
time to remove." 

The news was immediately sent off to Windsor 
Castle, and reached there at seven in the morning. 
"The King was so affected by it that some minutes 
elapsed before he could give utterance to his feel- 
ings. The Queen called the Princesses around her 
to read the despatches, while the whole royal group 
shed tears to the memory of Lord Nelson." 

In his reply to Mr. Marsden, on behalf of His 
Majesty, Colonel Taylor, the King's private secre- 
tary, wrote as follows: "However His Majesty 
rejoices at the signal success of his gallant fleet, he 
has not heard without expressions of very deep 
regret of the death of its valuable and distinguished 
Commander, although a life so replete with glory, 
and marked by a rapid succession of such meri- 
torious services and exertions, could not have ended 
more gloriously." 

Colonel Taylor added this on his own account : 
" 1 have not upon any occasion seen His Majesty 
more affected." The Private Secretary, in a post- 
script, made the following announcement : " The 
King is of opinion that the battle should be styled 
that of Trafalgar." 

2 A 


The " London Gazette Extraordinary " was out 
before breakfast time, and the newspapers and 
the Park and Tower guns, and the church bells, 
announced the news to all London before nine 
o'clock. Its effect was stunning. Never was a 
great triumph received with so little manifesta- 
tion of outward rejoicing. Immediately after the 
first rumours got about, between five and six 
o'clock, the doors of the newspaper offices were 
besieged by crowds all wanting to know one 
thing. It was not about the victory. The one 
thing people asked about was if it was really 
true about Lord Nelson? That Nelson's death 
was uppermost in everybody's mind. The 
victory was of course a tremendous one, the 
greatest ever heard of: but Nelson, "Our Nel," 
as the sailors called him, was gone ! 

" The first impression," says Lord Malmesbury, 
"was not joy, for Nelson fell. . . . Not one 
individual who felt joy at the victory so well timed 
and so complete, but first had an instinctive feeling 
of sorrow . . . the sorrow of affection and grati- 
tude for what had been done for us." 

Pitt, the Prime Minister, told Lord Malmesbury 
that evening how the news had affected him, as 
Lord Malmesbury himself relates. " On the receipt 
of the news of the memorable battle of Trafalgar 
(some day in November 1805), I happened to dine 
with Pitt, and it was naturally the engrossing sub- 
ject of our conversation. I shall never forget the 


eloquent manner in which he described his con- 
flicting feelings when roused in the night to read 
Collingwood's despatches. Pitt observed that he 
had been called up at various hours in his eventful 
life by the arrival of news of various hues, but 
that, whether good or bad, he could always lay his 
head on his pillow and sink into a sound sleep 
again. On this occasion, however, the great event 
announced brought with it so much to weep over, 
as well as to rejoice at, that he could not calm his 
thoughts, but at length got up, though it was three 
in the morning." 
Wrote Canning : 

O price, his conquering Country griev'd to pay ! 
O dear-bought glories of Trafalgar's day ! 
Lamented Hero ! when to Britain's shore 
Exulting fame those aweful tidings bore, 
Joy's bursting shout in whelming grief was drowned, 
And Victory's self unwilling audience found ; 
On every brow the cloud of sadness hung, 
The sounds of triumph died on every tongue ! 

Lady Elizabeth Hervey, writing to her son in 
America, speaks of the "mingled pride and con- 
sternation " with which the news was everywhere 
received. " The illuminations began but were dis- 
continued, the people being unable to rejoice." 
Writing on the 29th of November, she says that it 
would have been useless to write when the news first 
arrived. " Nothing that I could have said would 
have conveyed to you any idea of the impression 
made on the public by the loss of their favourite 


hero. . . . As we came away (from the Admiralty), 
there was a vast rush of people, but all silent, 
or a murmur of respect and sorrow ; some of the 
common people saying, ' It is bad news if Nelson 
is killed,' yet they knew that twenty ships were 
taken. A man at the turnpike gate said to Sir 
Ellis, who was going through, 'Sir, have you heard 
the bad news ? We have taken twenty ships from 
the enemy, but Lord Nelson is killed ! ' : 

Speaking of the feeling at Nelson's funeral, Lady 
Elizabeth says further: "In the thousands that 
were collected on that day, it was a silence which 
nothing broke through but a sort of murmur of 
'Hats off!' as the Car passed, and ejaculations of 
' God bless his soul who died for us to protect us ; 
never shall we see his like again ! ' The show al- 
together was magnificent, but the common people, 
when the crew of the Victory passed, said, ' We 
had rather see tliem than all the show ! ' ' 

" Never," wrote Lady Castlereagh from Ireland, 
on the news reaching her, " was there, indeed, an 
event so mournfully and so triumphantly im- 
portant to England as the battle of Trafalgar. 
The sentiment of lamenting the individual, more 
than the rejoicing in the victory, shows the 
humanity and affection of the people of England, 
but their good sense on reflection will dwell only 
on the conquest, because no death at a future 
moment could have been more glorious, and might 


have been less so. The public would never have 
sent him on another expedition, his health was not 
equal to another effort, and he might have yielded 
to the more natural but less imposing efforts of 
more worldly honours ! Whereas he now begins 
his immortal career, having nothing to achieve on 
earth, and bequeathing to the English Fleet a 
legacy which they alone are able to improve. 
Had I been his wife or his mother, I would rather 
have wept him dead than see him languish on a 
less splendid day. In such a death there is no 
sting, and in such a grave everlasting victory." 

This is what the " Times " said on the day after 
the news was known : 

" The victory created none of those enthusiastic 
emotions in the public mind which the successes 
of our naval arms have in every former instance 
produced. There was not a man who did not think 
that the life of the Hero of the Nile was too great 
a price for the capture and destruction of twenty 
sail of French and Spanish men of war. No 
ebullitions of popular transport, no demonstrations 
of public joy, marked this great and important 
event. The honest and manly feeling of the 
people appeared as it should have done : they felt 
an inward satisfaction at the triumph of their 
favourite arms; they mourned with all the sin- 
cerity and poignancy of domestic grief their Hero 


Their sorrow at Nelson's loss apart, nothing 
could have been finer than the spirit that actuated 
those who had friends in the battle. Mr. Secretary 
Marsden, to whom it fell to interview several 
anxious relatives calling at the Admiralty for news, 
records one or two cases that came under his 
own observation. Lady Arden, he says, in the 
middle of her own personal solicitude for her son, 
was " full of hope that the Orion has not had less 
than her share in this glorious conflict," a senti- 
ment that Mr. Marsden considered "worthy of a 
Roman matron in Rome's best day." A general 
who was informed that his son's ship "had had a 
full share of the glory," excitedly hugged the 
Secretary of the Admiralty, overcome with feel- 
ings of pride. After his interviews one day, Mr. 
Marsden was walking in St. James's Park, when 
he passed two poor women talking together. He 
overheard one say to the other : " It is true that I 
have had the misfortune to lose two sons killed, 
but then you know, my dear, that is a feather in 
my cap ! " 

Of the scene at night when London was illu- 
minated and everybody turned out into the streets, 
we have this from Lord Malmesbury : " I never 
saw so little public joy. The illumination seemed 
dim and as it were half-clouded by the desire of 
expressing the mixture of contending feelings ; 


every common person in the streets speaking 
first of their sorrow for him, and then of the 

Everywhere along the streets, over every shop 
and in front of every private house, reference was 
made first and foremost to Nelson. Everywhere 
were seen his initials over anchors, or transparencies 
of men-of-war, or figures of Britannia ; or medal- 
lions with his portrait festooned with lamps ; or 
one of the commonest devices the name 
" Nelson " in coloured lamps by itself. At Acker- 
mann's "Art Repository" in the Strand was dis- 
played an altar, on which was an urn surrounded 
with laurels and oak branches, bearing the legend, 
" Sacred to the memory of the immortal Nelson ! " 
Outside another large shop in the Strand all was 
dark except for a large transparency edged with 
violet and bearing the words, "The Victory is 
great, but the loss is irreparable ! " Similarly with 
the illuminations by private residents. The note 
of personal grief was universally predominant. 
One house in Finsbury Square, for instance, dis- 
played a device in violet-coloured lamps: "I rejoice 
for my country ; I mourn for my friend ! " The 
theatres were among the foremost in their displays, 
in their characteristically effusive way. One theatre 
showed, for instance, a huge transparency repre- 
senting Britannia seated holding up a medallion 
of Nelson crowned with laurel and oak leaves, and 


with a lion at her side, and in the background a 
representation of ships and warlike emblems, and 
the legend, " Victorious Nelson, I will avenge thy 
death." Co vent Garden displayed outside a large 
"N" in violet-coloured lamps, with an anchor in 
red lamps, and a branch of laurel. 1 

Throughout the country the celebrations were 
marked by the same note of personal grief at the 
loss of the nation's darling hero. At Norwich, the 
county town of Nelson's own county, the Corpora- 
tion went into mourning for a week. At Chester 
the cathedral bells rang merry peals of rejoicing 
for the victory ; alternating with deep, solemn toll- 
ing for Nelson. Three of the great bells pealed 

1 This is what took place inside the theatre according to a contem- 
porary newspaper account. "The Proprietors of this Theatre, ever 
alive to the national glory, produced a hasty but elegant compliment 
to the memory of Lord Nelson. When the curtain drew up we were 
surprised with the view of a superb naval scene. It consisted of 
columns in the foreground, decorated with medallions of the 
Naval Heroes of Britain. In the distance a number of ships were 
seen, and the front of the picture was filled by Mr. Taylor and the 
principal singers of the Theatre. They were grouped in an interesting 
manner, with their eyes turned towards the clouds, from whence a 
half-length portrait of Lord Nelson descended, with the following 
words underwritten: 'Horatio Nelson, Ob. 21st Oct.' Mr. Taylor 
and the other performers then sang ' Rule, Britannia/ verse and 
chorus. The following additional verse, written by Mr. Ashley, of 
Bath, was introduced and sung by Mr. Taylor, with the most affecting 
expression : it was universally encored : 

' Again the loud-toned trump of fame 
Proclaims Britannia rules the main, 
While sorrow whispers Nelson's name, 
And mourns the gallant victor slain. 
Rule, brave Britons, rule the main, 
Revenge the God-like Hero slain/" 


out together exultantly ; the fourth tolled through- 
out a slow and solemn note : 

For St. Olave and St. Oswald and Earl Hugh, 
Sang like morning-stars together in the blue ; 
And the quick, exulting changes of their peal 
Made the heavens above them laugh and the joyful 
city reel. 

Oh ! that blithe November morning, Eighteen- 

Every Englishman was glad to be alive 
As the joy-bells clashed in Chester, ancient Chester 

on the Dee. 

Hark ! in pauses of the revel sole and slow 
Old St. Werburgh swings a heavy note of woe ! 
Hark ! between the jocund peals, a single toll, 
Stern and muffled, marks the passing of a soul ! 

English hearts were sad that day as sad could 

English eyes so dimmed with tears they scarce 

could see 
All the joy was dashed with grief in ancient Chester 

on the Dee. 

In several other places, we are told, the bells 
were muffled and rang dumb peals only. All 
over the country, when the mayors of the towns 
read out the " Gazette " announcing the victory, 
instead of huzzas and shouts, there was gloom 
and tears and silence, everyone saying "Poor 
Nelson : had he only lived ! " 

Even children in the schoolroom realized Nel- 
son's death as a sort of personal loss. 

" I remember well the battle of Trafalgar," said 
Lady Wenlock, who died in 1869. " I was seven 


years old then, but I knew the names of all the 
ships and captains. My sister was then mistress 
of my father's house, and I was sent for down to 
her. She was not up, and the newspaper was 
lying on the bed. ' Oh, my dear,' she said, ' my 
father has sent me up the newspaper, and we have 
taken twenty ships of the line ; but Nelson is 
dead ! ' Child as I was, I burst into tears ; one had 
been taught to think that nothing could go on 
without him ! " 

Countess Brownlow (who died in 1872), a 
daughter of the second Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, 
relates in her " Reminiscences of a Septuagen- 
arian," that in 1805, when she was in the school- 
room at lessons, the news of Trafalgar and of 
Nelson's death was brought in, and that she 
dropped to the ground in horror at the news, 
although she had never seen Nelson. 

An old Christ's Hospital " boy," who died eight 
or nine years ago at the age of 103, was at school 
at the time. When the news arrived, he said, 
"we let up fireworks for the victory and then 
drank a little glass of sherry for Lord Nelson in 
solemn silence." 

Celebrations in honour of the victory were held 
during the following week at the various ports and 
garrisons and military stations, and gun salutes 
and feux de joie were fired. At every place, we 
are told, the Army officers appeared on parade in 


full mourning, and with their colours and band 
instruments " draped in crape ribbon." 

On Sir Richard Strachan's squadron reaching 
Plymouth with its prizes (Dumanoir's refugee 
squadron) in the week after the arrival of Colling- 
wood's despatch, we are also told, "the seamen 
coming ashore, on leave, each wore a knot of love- 
crape ribbon fastened above his left elbow." 

As to how the news was received by the Fleet 
elsewhere, we have this from an officer of the 
frigate "Immortality," belonging to one of the 
squadrons watching the French coast near Bou- 
logne: "It was during this cruise that we first 
heard of the mighty victory of Trafalgar . . . and 
I can well remember how much the pride and 
exultation, which we should otherwise have felt at 
our country's success, were saddened and subdued 
by the irreparable loss of her favourite Hero. In- 
stead of shouts and songs of triumph and gratu- 
lation, the subject was mentioned in broken 
whispers, and all seemed to feel, not only that some 
great national calamity had befallen the land, but 
as if each individual had lost a friend and leader, 
with whom it would have been the happiness of 
his life to serve and follow." 

An officer serving on the East Indies station 
relates that when the news reached his ship several 
of his men, who had served previously with Nelson, 
broke down entirely on hearing of his death, and 
were useless for duty for some days. 


"On the 19th of November," says the "Naval 
Chronicle," " all the Ships in the road of Elsineur 
fired three discharges in celebration of the Victory 
off Cadiz. Immediately afterwards their flags 
were lowered and three minute-guns fired, on 
account of the death of Lord Nelson." 

In the West Indies, saved by Nelson person- 
ally from Villeneuve's threatened raid in that very 
year, the sorrow at his loss was universal, and 
completely overshadowed all the rejoicings for the 
victory. It was fittingly typified by what took 
place in Jamaica, at Kingston, the chief city of the 
islands, on the day of the official celebration of 
Trafalgar. A funeral pyre was erected, forty-seven 
feet in height and forty-seven feet each way, the 
number corresponding with that of Nelson's years 
of life. On the officially appointed day, at six in 
the evening, the local militia formed up in a hollow 
square round the pyre, which was set light to 
at forty-seven points at once. As it blazed up a 
funeral oration to Nelson was delivered by the 
Governor of the Colony. Forty-seven minute- 
guns were then fired, with a general discharge of 
musketry between each shot, and forty-seven 
rockets were sent up. 

In what manner England honoured the remains 
of her dead hero when they reached these shores, 
all the world knows : 

Such honours Ilium to her hero paid, 

And peaceful slept the mighty Hector's shade. 

Napoleon, says Marbot, received the news of 
Trafalgar on the 18th of November, at Znaim, in 
Moravia, when on the march to the battlefield of 
Austerlitz. " Just as he was quietly sitting down 
to table, Berthier put into his hand a despatch an- 
nouncing Trafalgar and its result. He displayed, 
however, no emotion, concealed the news, and 
simply wrote to Decres 'that he should wait for 
more particulars before forming a definite opinion 
on the nature of this affair, which would moreover 
in no way change his plan of cruising.' " This is 
what Napoleon wrote : " All this makes no change 
in my cruising projects ; I am annoyed that all is 
not ready yet. They must set out without delay." 
He added, with reference to the Cadiz fleet : 
" Cause all the troops that are on board the squad- 
ron to come to me by land. They will await my 
orders at the first town in France." 

According to one story, in the course of the 
evening, Napoleon, musing gloomily over the news, 
asked Berthier how old Paul Jones was when he 
died. Berthier replied that he thought he was 
forty-five. "Then," said Napoleon, "he did not 
fulfil his destiny. Had he lived to this time, 
France might have had an admiral ! " Said Na- 
poleon afterwards : " Our admirals are always talk- 
ing about 'pelagic conditions ' and 'ulterior objects.' 
As if there was any condition or any object in war 
except to get in contact with the enemy and 
destroy him. That was Paul Jones's view of the 


conditions and objects of naval warfare. It was 
also Nelson's. It is a pity they could not have 
been matched, with fairly equal force." 

" Je saurai bien apprendre mes amiraux Fran^ais 
a vaincre ! " was the Emperor's final word that 
night. 1 

The Grand Army heard of the fate of the fleet 
about the same time ; first of all, we are told, at 
the surrender of the Austrian Marshal Jellachich 
to Augereau's army corps in the Tyrol. 

" During the interview which the two marshals 
held on this occasion," says Marbot, " the Austrian 
officers, who were humiliated by the recent reverses 
to their arms (at Ulm), gave themselves the 
malicious pleasure of imparting to us a very un- 
welcome piece of news, which had hitherto been 
concealed from us, but which the Russians and 
Austrians had learnt by way of England. The 
French and Spanish fleets had been beaten by 
Lord Nelson on October 20th not far from Cadiz, 
off Cape Trafalgar." 

Good care was taken to let the garrison at 
Boulogne, and the seamen of the flotilla there, 
know about it. Says a paragraph in the " Times " 
of Saturday, the 9th of November : 

"Sir SIDNEY SMITH has repaid Commodore 
ROBIN in his own coin. On Thursday he sent a 

1 f ' The next day, the Emperor started off at a gallop ; he was 
sullen. 'AH does not go well,' said our chiefs; c he is angry.'" 
(Narrative of Coignet, of the Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard, 
November, 1805.) 


cutter over to the French coast with the Extra- 
ordinary Gazette, containing the news of the 
victory over the Combined Squadron. He apolo- 
gized for forwarding it by a boat having no one on 
board, remarking, 'that the last flag of truce he 
sent in, the officer was very honourably detained.' " 
The news filtered through, later on, to the 
English prisoners in France ; who, for the most 
part, found means of commemorating the victory. 
Even at the great central depot at Verdun they 
found means to celebrate Trafalgar and commemo- 
rate Nelson ; as is related by an unlucky midship- 
man, whom the fortune of war had thrown into 
the brutal Colonel Wirion's hands. " It was 
nearly two months before news reached us of 
Nelson's glorious victory ; about seventy mids 
were confined in the citadel. A subscription for 
supper and wine was immediately set on foot, and 
although borne down with sorrow and oppression, 
we participated in the joy of victory and shed a 
tributary tear for the fate of Nelson." 

In France, what had happened at Trafalgar was 
hushed up, as far as the promulgation of official 
news went. Not a line about the battle was 
allowed to appear in the " Moniteur," the official 
newspaper. 1 "An event," says Lanfrey, "did 

1 Ulm and Austerlitz rendered it the easier to keep things quiet 
about Trafalgar. All France was ringing with the news of Ulm, its 
thirty captured generals and seventy thousand other prisoners, just at 
the moment that Collingwood's first despatch was crossing the Bay of 


not exist until it had been duly stated and legal- 
ized by the ' Moniteur.' Nelson might destroy our 
navy at Trafalgar ; the insolent fact was not recog- 
nized." "The silence of the 'Moniteur' on the 
subject," notes Sir Harris Nicolas, 1 "is the more 
remarkable, because it regularly transferred to its 
pages from the English Journals notices of the 
movements of our ships, and even quoted the 
English Newspapers which were filled with ac- 
counts of the Battle. 2 A still more extraordinary 
instance of the restraint imposed on the ' Moniteur,' 
was shown by that journal on the 30th of Novem- 
ber, when it mentioned the Proclamation in the 
' London Gazette ' of the 18th of that month, com- 
manding a general thanksgiving to be observed on 
the 5th of December, but carefully suppressed that 
it was ' for the late signal and important Victory 

Biscay. Napoleon's message to the Senate "I send you forty stand 
of colours, which my army has conquered in the different actions 
which took place since that at Wertingen. It is a homage which I 
and my army pay to the Sages of the Empire ; it is an offering made 
by children to their father " was being read in Paris almost at the 
very moment that Lieutenant Lapenotiere was coming ashore at Fal- 
mouth. The news of Austerlitz, with its tale of 180 captured guns and 
eleven thousand prisoners, arrived in France just after the " Victory," 
with Nelson's body on board, had cast anchor at St. Helens. The 
fifty-three flags taken at Austerlitz, including the standards of the 
Tsar's Imperial Guard, were just arriving at the Invalides at the time 
of Nelson's funeral. 

1 " Despatches and Letters of Lord Nelson," vol. VII, p. 263. 

1 There had been no reticence over Villeneuve's action with 
Calder, the account of which filled some columns in the "Moniteur." 
Napoleon had expressed himself at first satisfied with that, and had 
the account specially inserted. Afterwards, he took another view. 


obtained over the Combined Fleets of France and 
Spain.' " 

All the same, one or two papers in France did 
manage to evade the censorship. Muzzled as the 
Press everywhere was, mention was made in one 
or two quarters that there had been a battle at sea, 
the outcome of which was variously stated. 

This is what the "Journal du Commerce" told its 
readers : " It has been rumoured, on the authority 
of private letters, for some days, that there has 
been an action off the coast of Spain, between the 
Combined Fleets of France and Spain and the 
English squadron. According to these accounts, 
the French squadron, commanded by Admiral 
VILLENEUVE, and the Spanish by Admiral 
GRAVINA, came out of Cadiz, on the 18th or 
19th of last month, when they were fallen in with 
by the English Fleet, under the command of 
Admiral NELSON. A most bloody action took 
place, in which both fleets fought with the greatest 
determination, and in which each of them suffered 
most severely. Towards the end of the engage- 
ment a violent storm came on, which dispersed the 
ships. It is reported that one Spanish and one 
English ship were blown up. It is also reported 
that some of the commanders were killed or 
dangerously wounded. But these private letters 
coming from no authentic source, it would be 
imprudent lightly to spread an alarm, for which, 
perhaps, there is no foundation ; and it would be 

2 B 


proper to suspend opinions until the official intel- 
ligence shall give some positive information respect- 
ing this important event." 

According to a paragraph in the London " Ob- 
server" of the 15th of November, the news was 
widely known in Holland : " The French and 
Dutch Papers which have arrived, the former to 
the 8th, and the latter to the 12th inst., observe a 
total silence on the late naval victories ; but private 
Letters from Holland, dated the llth, mention 
that the intelligence had reached Rotterdam, and 
created the greatest sensation." Another Letter, 
said to have been received from Paris, mentions 
that event in the following terms: 'It is ascer- 
tained here, that a severe action has at length 
been fought between the English and the Com- 
bined Fleets, off Cadiz, all that we hear on the 
subject is that ten sail returned to Cadiz, not being 
wanted in the action ! / / " 

A week previously a private correspondent of 
the " Times " in Paris had reported what was being 
said there about Trafalgar, to the following effect : 
" We have as yet nothing but vague and uncertain 
particulars of the engagement by sea which took 
place off Cadiz. They speak of a very brilliant 
exploit of Captain COSMO, of the Pluto, who, 
with only his own ship and a few frigates, ex- 
tricated and brought to Cadiz three Spanish ships 
which had been dismasted, and had fallen into the 
power of the enemy. It is also reported that three 


English ships, which were dismasted and could not 
reach Gibraltar, were wrecked on the coast of Spain. 
It is said that Lord NELSON was killed, and that 
Admiral GRAVTNA had lost an arm ; that a French 
Rear- Admiral was killed, and that several ships of 
both fleets were lost. Vice- Admiral ROSILLY, who 
was to take the command of the Combined Fleet 
at Cadiz, arrived there three days after Admirals 
VILLENEUVE and GRAVINA had sailed." 

The Spanish newspapers, on the other hand, 
made no secret about the disaster. No attempt 
was made to gag their utterances. Every paper 
in Spain, almost, had its own account of Trafalgar ; 
and gave also, in many cases, extracts from the 
admirals' despatches, as made public by the official 
"Gazeta de Madrid," with, in addition, letters 
from survivors of the battle. At the same time 
the Spanish editors were not always scrupulous as 
to the authenticity of their news where it told 
against the enemy. One flagrant departure from 
the truth, in especial, which obtained the widest 
circulation, was an elaborate tour deforce by some 
enterprising Cadiz reporter. It found its way to 
the "Madrid Gazette" as "A Letter from London," 
and after being quoted elsewhere in the Spanish 
Press, crossed the Pyrenees, to be translated and 
form the solitary reference in detail to Trafalgar 
that appeared in print in France. It purported to 
give a list, "from the report of Admiral Colling- 
wood to the Admiralty," of the British losses in 



and after the battle. The " report " is sufficiently 
curious in itself to have a place for it found here. 

" LONDON, November 26th. 

" In society, at the theatre and places of entertainment, at 
balls, all the ladies in evening dress wear cypress in their head- 
dress in memory of Lord Nelson. 

" The loss of Lord Nelson, however, is not the only loss that 
we have to deplore in the terrible battle which has taken place 
off Cadiz between our Fleet and that of the Combined Fleet. 
One may judge of these when one reads the following extract 
from the despatch that Admiral Collingwood has forwarded to 
the Admiralty : 


Victory . .100 Entirely dismasted in the act of 

breaking the line. Admiral Nelson 
wounded ; he died seven hours after 
the battle. 

98 Sunk in the action. 
98 Sunk in the action. 
98 All the hull riddled with cannon shot. 
98 Dismasted ; the masts of the French 
ship " Aigle " fell on her deck and 
killed many of the crew. 
Both sunk ; and the masts of the first 
and the rudder of the second have 
been found on Conil beach. 
98 Lost her foretopmast and mizen; at 

Gibraltar much damaged. 
*Donegal . . 80 Dismasted on the Barbary coast. 
*Canopus . . 80 Dismasted and taken alongside the 

sheer hulk at Gibraltar. 

*Tigre . . 80 Sunk off the coast near Sta. Maria. 

*Tonnant . . 80 Burnt by the Fleet five or six leagues 

N.W. of Cadiz. 
Spencer . . 74 Came into Gibraltar in tow of a frigate 

making signals for assistance. 

Le Spartiate . 74 Sunk after the action, on the coast 

near Rota. 

* Not in the battle. 

* Prince of Wales 

Neptune and Prince 98 


















74 Without mainmast; at Gibraltar. 
74 Lost her foretopmast; at Gibraltar. 
74 Dismasted, on the coast of Africa. 
74 Under sail, and lost her maintopmast. 

Hull damaged ; at Gibraltar. 

Under sail. 




\ At Gibraltar, the second without a 
/ topsail yard. 

Ran ashore on the coast off Conil 
or San Lucar. 


Under sail. 

74 Under sail, without a mizen-inast. 
74 Sunk after the battle off the coast 

off Rota. 
74 Under sail with jury-masts. 


fThe Duke of York 90 Under sail. 

Royal Sovereign . 100 

fLe Leger 





Lost, with 400,000 sterling, on her 

way to Malta. 
Towed by an English frigate. 
Under sail, under care of a Swedish 

Under sail. 

"NoTE. Rear- Admiral Bickerton was wounded at the be- 
ginning of the Action, and died three hours after it was ended. 
A hundred-gun ship, three Frigates, and one Corvette have 
sailed from Gibraltar to the Westward to protect the Vessels 
which have grounded or are dismasted. This account is taken 
from that despatched from Gibraltar by Admiral Collingwood 
and from those given by ships that have come into that Port. 
It is to be expected that the English would not exaggerate 
their losses, and they are much greater than they choose to 
represent them. But it is sufficiently evident that their 
Fleet is destroyed ; and some Accounts from Cadiz state that 
their loss is seven or eight thousand men a loss that England 
can with difficulty replace." 

* Not in the battle. f No such ships in the British Navy. 


In presenting such interesting information to 
his readers, the editor of the " Gazette de Paris " 
added as his own comment on the news, "Ce 
rapport est un eclatant temoignage rendu a la 
valeur des Francais." 

The total casualty return for the British Fleet 
at Trafalgar, including killed and wounded and 
drowned, sent in by Admiral Collingwood, 
amounted to 1,609 of all ranks and ratings. The 
Spaniards made a careful estimate of their losses, 
and officially stated them at 1,022 killed and 1,383 
wounded, a total of 2,405 men ; in addition to be- 
tween three and four thousand prisoners taken on 
board the prizes. No official French casualty list 
was ever made public, but as far as could be ascer- 
tained at Cadiz after the battle, the French losses 
in action, and on board the prizes that were ship- 
wrecked after the battle, were 4,528 men 3,373 
killed and drowned, and 1,155 wounded. And 
there were at least as many French prisoners as 
Spanish. The monetary loss to the enemy by 
their defeat at Trafalgar the value in hard cash 
of the nineteen ships with their stores lost by the 
battle Collingwood himself estimated at four 
millions sterling, " most of it," as he had sorrow- 
fully to add, " gone to the bottom." No ships, of 
course, were lost on our side, and only one (the 
" Belleisle ") was completely dismasted. Ten of 
the British ships did not lose either a mast or a 


yard, and in the rest the damage in this regard 
was confined to the loss of a topmast in some 
cases, and one or two yards in others. Not more 
than ten at most suffered serious damage in hull, 
and all were sufficiently seaworthy to last out the 
storm and return to England. 1 

Napoleon's one and only public reference to 
Trafalgar was made six months afterwards ; on the 
occasion of his Imperial Address to the Corps 
Legislatif on the 2nd of March, 1806. He gave 
one sentence of his Speech from the Throne to it, 
and not a word more : " Les tempetes nous ont 
fait perdre quelques vaisseaux apres un combat im- 
prudemment engageY' That was all. 2 

1 Admiral Togo's victory in the battle of the Sea of Japan cost the 
victors 537 in casualties, of which only 113 were deaths, in or after 
action. It cost the Russians, it has been estimated, from 7,000 to 
12,000 in killed or drowned, and 4,600 in captured, while the value of 
the ships destroyed and taken was upwards of 185,000,000 roubles, or, 
roughly, 18,500,000 sterling. 

2 Incidentally Napoleon paid Nelson the remarkable tribute of 
adopting his Trafalgar signal for the Imperial Navy. The Emperor, 
within four months of Trafalgar, directed that the words, " La France 
compte que chacun fera son devoir ! " should be painted up promi- 
nently on board every man-of-war in his navy. "It is the best of 
lessons," he said to Decres, when giving the Minister of Marine the 



A DMIRAL VILLENEUVE himself was the 
-*- first of the Trafalgar prisoners to be landed in 
England. He was sent on in advance of the others ; 
on board the "Euryalus," which brought also 
Collingwood's second despatch to the Admiralty, 
with the captured flags 1 and the complete list of 
casualties. Captain Blackwood left the ship off 
the Lizard on Sunday morning, the 24th of No- 
vember, proceeding to Falmouth in his barge, to 
post thence to London, as Lapenotiere of the 
"Pickle" had done. By that means he gained some 
days. After his departure, the " Euryalus " had a 
stiff beat up Channel, only arriving at Spithead 
on the forenoon of the 29th. Admiral Villeneuve 
and Captain Magendie of the " Bucentaure " were 

1 According to " The Naval and Military Sketchbook " (published 
in 1845), the Nile and Trafalgar trophies were for years kept grouped 
round the Nelson statue in St. Paul's ; those taken by Howe, St. 
Vincent, and Duncan, also kept in the cathedral, were grouped round 
the interior of the dome. All are stated to have been " removed to the 
Painted Hall, Greenwich Hospital," but no date for the transfer 
is given. All trace of them unfortunately is now lost. 



landed at Gosport that afternoon ; their servants 
and twenty-two other Frenchmen and Spaniards 
brought to England in the ship, being transhipped 
to the prison hulk " San Damaso " next day. 
" Sent the French admiral and captain ashore " is 
the matter-of-fact way in which the log of the 
" Euryalus " records the landing of Captain Black- 
wood's distinguished passengers. 

The " descriptive reporter " had no place on the 
staff of the newspaper of 1805, and a small-print 
paragraph, among items of domestic interest, was 
all that the news of the landing as a prisoner of 
war of the enemy's Commander-in- Chief at Tra- 
falgar was considered worth by the few editors who 
noticed the event at all. This is what went the 
round, copied from the " Hampshire Telegraph," 
which first published the paragraph : 

landed on Friday morning at Gosport beach. He 
was brought on shore by the Commissioner's barge 
from the Euryalus frigate, lying at Spithead, 
and walked through the town to the Crown Inn, 
accompanied only by his second captain, Mar- 
chande [c], and Captain Taylor, of the Camilla 
sloop-of-war. Admiral Villeneuve is well made, 
and has a manly countenance, appears to be about 
fifty years of age, and is between five feet eight 
and nine inches high. He seems melancholy, but 
not despondent, and is conscious of having done 
his duty. He acknowledged several times on the 


Euryalus that it is altogether impossible for any 
naval power to contend with that of England. 
He speaks English but imperfectly. His captain, 
Marchande, has been taken three times before, and 
is a very spirited and excellent officer." 

After stopping for the night at Portsmouth 
poor Villeneuve was in a terribly dejected mood, 
and suffered so severely from spasms that a doctor 
had to be called in the French admiral and 
Magendie were driven off in a postchaise to 
Bishop's Waltham, where a house had been taken 
for them by the British Government. There was 
a depot for officers on parole at Bishop's Waltham. 
Admiral Villeneuve, however, did not remain there 
many days, more suitable quarters being allotted 
to him and Magendie at Reading. There was 
there a larger depot for paroled officers, and at 
Reading Captain Lucas, and Infernet of the " In- 
trpide," joined their chief. Leave to visit friends 
in London on occasion was one of the privileges 
accorded to senior officers interned at Reading, 
and all four took advantage of it. Captain 
Lucas, we are told, received many invitations, and 
was made a sort of " lion " in London society, out 
of compliment to his personal intrepidity at 
Trafalgar. Infernet used from time to time to go 
up to call on Mrs. Codrington in London ; his 
uncouth politeness and sea-dog ways rather em- 
barrassing the good lady sometimes, it would 
appear. According to the " Hampshire Telegraph," 


also, "Admiral Villeneuve and Captain Magendie 
were witnesses of Lord Nelson's funeral, having 
received permission to be present." 

Within a week of the " Euryalus " reaching 
England the ships sent home by Collingwood for 
repairs began to arrive. Each brought on board 
from 150 to 300 prisoners. All of these, practic- 
ally, were Frenchmen. The Spanish prisoners 
with very few exceptions had been put ashore at 
Gibraltar, under the terms of the convention con- 
cluded between Collingwood and the authorities 
at Cadiz in the week following the battle. Colling- 
wood expressed himself desirous of dealing with 
his French captives in the same way of landing 
them also in Spain, on condition that they should 
not serve afloat again until regularly exchanged 
against a similar number of British prisoners, then 
in captivity, or who might be taken later on ; but 
Admiral Rosily (who reached Cadiz on the 25th of 
October, as has been said) had no power to accede 
to any arrangement of the sort. So Collingwood 
had to send all his French prisoners to England, 
except some of the wounded. These, to save them 
from the sufferings of the voyage, were landed 
with the Spaniards or sent on board the hospital 
hulk in Gibraltar Bay. During November, accord- 
ing to the official receipt given by the Spanish 
Agent for prisoners, 210 officers and 4,589 seamen 
and soldiers were released from on board the 
British Fleet. The officers were thus classified : 


1 Rear- Admiral ; 1 Commodore ; 6 Senior Cap- 
tains ; 2 Junior Captains ; 200 other Naval and 
Military Officers. 

In addition to these, there had been landed at 
Cadiz 1,087 wounded Spaniards of all ranks, and 
253 French officers and men ; who were exchanged 
for British officers and men of the prize crews 
made prisoners on the recapture of the " Santa 
Ana " and the " Alge^iras " and " Neptuno," or 
rescued off the " Bucentaure " and wrecked prizes 
on the coast. 

The general relations between the British garri- 
son at Gibraltar and the Spaniards on the main- 
land, it may be remarked in passing, were at 
this time rather anomalous. The two nations 
were at open war, and a land blockade of Gib- 
raltar had been formally established ; with a camp 
of from twelve thousand to fifteen thousand 
Spanish troops Walloon guards, infantry, and 
artillery facing the Rock, just beyond gunshot 
of the Gibraltar batteries. Yet personal courtesies 
constantly passed, and a modus vivendi had been 
established between the officers on both sides, 
enabling them to meet and fraternize cordially 
from time to time. " Although Great Britain and 
Spain were at war, and the Spanish Fleet was 
co-operating with that of France against Nelson 
and Collingwood, there was much cordiality be- 
tween the British officers at Gibraltar and the 


Spaniards at Alge9iras and San Roque, and friendly 
visits were frequently exchanged, it being a 
common thing, after an attack by the Spaniards 
on British vessels entering or leaving Gibraltar, for 
the opposing officers to meet at dinner at the table 
of either the British or Spanish general. The 
friendliness of the Spaniards went to the extent of 
permitting the formation of a race-course outside 
the fortress, which was a great boon to the 
garrison." l 

Captain Codrington, of the Trafalgar " Orion," 
in one of his letters home a little time after the 
battle, describes a dinner-party at Gibraltar, given 
by the Governor to General Castanos, the Spanish 
Governor of Algebras ; at the close of which 
General Castanos, when shaking hands with him, 
offered to send him, with the greatest pleasure, any 
delicacies he might fancy that Alge9iras afforded. 
" It is hardly to be believed," Codrington goes on, 
"that this intercourse, which certainly deserves 
the name of friendly, should not interfere with the 
hostile operations to which this place is more par- 
ticularly subject. Whilst the Governor of Alge- 
ziras (old Gibraltar) is dining with the Governor 
of the Rock (new Gibraltar), or whilst the 
Governor of the Rock, with one-half of the officers 
and many of the private soldiers, is at a horse race 
in Spain, the Algeziras gunboats are making an 

1 "History of the 57th Regiment/' Captain H. H. Woolwright, 
p. 142. 


attack on a convoy coming in with supplies for 
the garrison. I was actually, when last here, 
standing with one of General Fox's aides-de-camp 
in the Spanish lines observing the Spanish fire at 
the ' Beagle ' sloop of war which happened to 
come within range of their shot, with the same 
apparent indifference as would have attended me 
on seeing them attack a nation hostile to Eng- 

The French Trafalgar prisoners, for their part, 
both officers and men, with a few Spaniards de- 
tained for special reasons, were all conveyed to 
England in batches ; on board the ships of the 
British Fleet ordered into port for repairs. These 
numbered sixteen altogether, and they took their 
prisoners to the dockyard ports to which each 
ship belonged, to discharge them there into the 
local war prisons, for disposal thence as the Trans- 
port Board, which had charge of the arrange- 
ments for the custody of prisoners of war, should 

This is how the French Trafalgar officers fared 
in England as prisoners of war. On the arrival of 
the ships of the Trafalgar fleet, the officers' paroles 
were taken and they were sent off to their ap- 
pointed places of residence ; to reside there at large, 
until their regular exchanges might be effected 
with the French Government. There was between 
the combatant powers a regular tariff for the ex- 


change of naval officers. Officers might be either 
exchanged direct, rank for rank, against the corre- 
sponding grades in the enemy's service, or as a 
set-off to the release of a certain number of lower 
ratings. Midshipmen were reckoned each as the 
equivalent of three seamen ; junior lieutenants of 
four ; senior lieutenants of six ; commanders and 
masters of eight seamen ; captains as a fair ex- 
change for fifteen ; rear-admirals for thirty ; vice- 
admirals for forty ; an admiral commander-in-chief 
was counted as worth sixty men. In practice, 
however, few exchanges were effected, owing to 
Napoleon's persistent refusal, except in a few 
isolated cases, to assent to any exchanges what- 
ever. It meant for most of the unfortunate 
Trafalgar prisoners, for both officers and men, 
detention in Great Britain until the end of the 
war. 1 

On giving their parole not to attempt escape, 
the officers were mostly interned in small country 
towns throughout the south of England and the 
Midlands. There they lived in lodgings and passed 
the time as they liked, under certain restrictions ; 
receiving a pittance by way of allowance from the 
British Government. They might walk for one 

1 In the eleven years between 1803 and 1814 some 122,000 French 
prisoners were brought to England. Of these, not more than 18 per 
cent were paroled ; about 10 per cent died in captivity. The rest 
remained in British hands until the peace, the cost of their mainten- 
ance and the officers' allowances being recovered from France as part 
of the war indemnity. 


mile outside their place of internment, but no 
farther ; and they must keep to the turnpike roads. 
Walking in lanes, or on cross-roads, was prohibited ; 
and they had ordinarily to be in their lodgings 
at sunset. In most places the townsfolk were well 
disposed towards the unfortunate strangers, and 
the local gentry as a rule showed them every 
courtesy and hospitality. The enforcement of 
penalties for any breaches of the regulations, by 
fine, or in extreme cases by deportation in custody 
to the nearest war prison, was in the hands of the 
local justices. Breach of parole by attempting 
escape meant arrest and being sent to the war 
prison ; to be there confined under sentry among 
the ordinary prisoners. Among the "cantonments" 
or "depots," as the terms went, at which the 
French Trafalgar officers found themselves in- 
terned, were, for those landed at Portsmouth : 
Bishop's Waltham (where there were nearly two 
hundred accommodated), Alresford, Whitchurch, 
Odiham, Winchester, Andover, and Reading. 
Tavistock, Tiverton (where there were a hundred 
and twenty), Ashburton, Okehampton, were the 
chief depots for officers landed at Plymouth. Of 
the officers landed at Chatham, a few were quar- 
tered at Maidstone and Canterbury, but most were 
sent into the Midlands. There were depots at 
Chesterfield, Wisbech, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Lich- 
field, Derby, Ashbourne, Leek, and elsewhere. 
Some, indeed, were sent as far north as to Edin- 


burgh Castle, Valleyfield, near Peebles, and 
Perth. 1 

The French seamen and soldiers taken at Trafal- 
gar were lodged, as they were delivered in port, 
either in the local war prisons, or on board the 
hulks in harbour allotted for their reception. 

At Portsmouth, during the first ten days of 
December, the " Temeraire " and the " Mars," 
" Colossus," " Tonnant," " Defiance," and " Sparti- 
ate" discharged large contingents of prisoners. 
They were divided between Porchester Castle, the 
principal place of confinement, and able to accom- 
modate altogether 8,000 men ; and Forton Prison, 
close to Gosport, with quarters for 4,000 ; and in 
the hulks, seven old men-of-war, moored head and 

1 Here is a " Gazette'' notice in connexion with an escape by 
French officers, three of whom were at Trafalgar. 

TRANSPORT-OFFICE, March 24, 1806. 

WHEREAS the five French Prisoners of War, named and de- 
scribed at foot hereof, have broken their parole, and absconded 
from the Towns of Thame in Oxfordshire, and Odiham in Hampshire. 
The Commissioners for conducting his Majesty's Transport Service, 
&c., do hereby give notice, that any person or persons, who shall 
apprehend the said prisoners or either of them, and deliver them or 
him at this Office, or otherwise cause them to be properly secured in 
any of the Public Gaols, shall receive for each Prisoner, a REWARD 
of TEN GUINEAS. A further Reward of TEN GUINEAS will 
be paid to any person giving such Information as may be the means 
of convicting any British Subject of aiding the said Prisoners of War, 
or either of them, in effecting their escape, 


VICTOR SERAIN, Enseigne de Vaisseau, 26 years of age, 5 feet 
5 inches high, slight person, Ion ' visage, swarthy complexion ; dark 
brown hair, grey eyes, scar on'nis right eye. 

ALEXANDER PERRAULT, Enseigne de Vaisseau, 20 years of 
age, 5 ft. 6 in. high, slight person, long visage, fair complexion, 
light brown hair, hazle eyes, ears pierced. 

J. P. PELLETT, Second Lieutenant of the Wimereux French 
Privateer, 31 years of age, 5 ft. 6 in. high, stout person, round 
visage, fair complexion, light brown hair, blue eyes, ears pierced. 

LE BOLLOCHE, Enseigne de Vaisseau, 23 years of 

age, 5 ft. 7J in. high, slight person, oval visage, fair complexion, 
dark brown hair, hazle eyes, cut with a swcrd on the right leg, 
marked with the small-pox. 


LOUIS DE BEAUSSET, Lieutenant in the Army, 32 years of 
age, 5 ft. 5i in. high, slight person, oval visage, dark complexion, 
brown hair, hazle eyes, marked with the small-pox slightly. 

2 C 


stern in Porchester Lake, each fitted to receive 
from 700 to 800 prisoners. 1 

The men from Trafalgar were distributed among 
the mass of other prisoners already under de- 
tention at Portsmouth : French soldiers from 
San Domingo ; French, Spanish, and Dutch men- 
of-war's men taken in half a hundred frigate 
actions all the world over; privateersmen and 
coaster crews by the hundred who in 1805 
furnished the bulk of the occupants of British 
war prisons throughout the country. They were 
divided up in batches ; so many to Porchester, so 
many to Forton, so many to each hulk ; to keep 
shipmates apart and prevent plottings that might 
be dangerous. 

A peculiarly vivid picture is in existence over- 
drawn in certain particulars and too highly coloured 
here and there it may be, yet in the main faithful 
and correct of prison-ship life at Portsmouth at 
the time that the Trafalgar prisoners were there, 
set forth in Louis Garneray's "Mes Pontons." 
The author, a writer and an artist of reputation in 
later years, was captured on board a privateer, 
and kept in durance for several years at Ports- 
mouth and Bishop's Waltham. He and his ship- 

1 By the irony of fate for some of the unfortunates landed at 
Portsmouth, two of the seven hulks there, on board which some of the 
Trafalgar prisoners were lodged, were formerly French men-of-war, 
and bore, lettered on their sterns, their original names ' ' Le Pegase " 
and " Le Prothee.*' One of the seven, also, was a captured Spanish war- 
ship, the "San Damaso.'' 


mates were placed on board the "Prothee" in 
Porchester Lake. 

The sombre, forbidding, black mass of the hulk 
as they approached, says Garneray, looked, at a 
little distance, like "an immense sarcophagus." "Ce 
sombre tombeau " he calls it also. Entering on 
board between a double file of soldiers, the new- 
comers were abruptly hustled below, among the 
former arrivals, who seemed "like the dead just 
out of their graves " ; hollow-eyed, with pale and 
haggard faces, bowed backs, dishevelled, and with 
ragged, unkempt beards, dressed in scanty yellow 
garments, emaciated and feeble-looking. He him- 
self was at once taken charge of by two of the 
guards, stripped and made to take a chilly bath. 
Then he had to put on the same garb as the 
others ; a coarse shirt, and orange-yellow vest and 
breeches, both too small for him, and stamped in 
immense black letters " T.O." (Transport Office). 
Next the prisoners' names and descriptions were 
taken, and their quarters on board apportioned 

The seven to eight hundred prisoners on board 
were allowed on deck during the daytime in the 
waist, says Garneray ; the space at their disposal 
being 44 ft. by 38 ft. " The Park " was the name 
that the prisoners, with sardonic humour, gave to 
their airing place. They might use a small space 
on the forecastle also, but the galley funnels 
opened there, and it was practically impossible to 


avoid the smoke. At night all were locked up in 
two divisions of between three and four hundred 
men each, on the lower and main decks ; the space 
available for each division being 120 ft. long, 40ft. 
wide, and 6ft. high. They had to pack so close 
that the hammocks were hung in two tiers, with 
only a few inches between the upper and lower 
tiers. Some men slept on the deck, as a third row. 
The heat and stench, describes Garneray, were 
indescribable ; almost insupportable. They had to 
strip to sleep. The candles in the lanterns often 
went out for want of oxygen. The British officers, 
the naval lieutenant in charge, master, and the 
warrant officers, with the lieutenant in command 
of the fifty soldiers on board, and servants, with 
the main-guard on duty for the day, were quar- 
tered aft. The remainder of the soldiers, with 
the twenty-five seamen and ship's boys forming 
the crew of the hulk, lived forward. Their quar- 
ters were stoutly barricaded off by bulkheads 
studded with huge iron nails ; loopholes being cut 
in the bulkheads for musketry, and ports for a 
couple of guns, which were kept pointed to sweep 
the decks with case shot in case of trouble. 
Sentries were on duty on board by day at all 
points, and during the night the prisoners were 
constantly visited by rounds and kept under con- 
tinuous supervision. The hulk was carefully ex- 
amined every evening against attempts to break 
out, and the prisoners paraded on deck and 


counted one by one, "comme on compte des 

The food, undoubtedly, was the great grievance 
on board. In Garneray's words: "C'etait la que 
se developpait sans contrainte la haine que nous 
portaient les Anglais." The dietary, he tells us, 
was coarse, insufficient, and repugnant. One and 
a quarter pounds of dark bread and seven ounces 
of "cow beef" was each man's ration; with a 
modicum of barley and onions for soup for each 
mess of four. Once a week the issue was a pound 
of red herring with a pound of potatoes ; on 
another day, salt cod in lieu of herring. Poor as 
the allowance was, the rogues of contractors who 
victualled the hulks often gave short weight, or 
sent on board uneatable stuff. The herrings, 
indeed, describes Garneray, were often sold back 
to the contractor at a nominal price, to re- 
appear again as another day's ration. The very 
same herrings, he declares, did duty for eight years ! 
The salt cod could be eaten, he says; but the bread 
was like lead, and was constantly of short weight. 
A complaint meant going without anything until 
the evening, when the officer of the day heard 
complaints. The drinking water was brought along- 
side in casks by small boats and pumped on board 
the hulk by the prisoners themselves. Apart 
from the stories, authentic in some cases, of the 
dogs of British officers paying a call on board, 
being decoyed below, killed, and turned into cut- 


lets, while their late masters were talking aft, it 
is the fact that the rats in the hold were as a 
regular thing fished for with hooks baited with 
bits of beef, and caught and cooked and eagerly 
devoured. Gambling was a favourite means of 
passing the time ; the usual stakes being the poor 
wretches' rations. One man at Porchester, it is on 
record, lost his rations for eight days running and 
died of starvation. 

It was in the land prisons, for the most part, 
that the captives had space and opportunities for 
turning out the knick-knacks and fancy ornaments 
that one sometimes nowadays comes across in 
museums and private collections, carved out of 
beef-bones and plaited with the straw from their 
mattresses chess-men, ship-models, filigree boxes, 
and so forth by means of which they were able 
to make a little money for extra "luxuries" to 
their rations, out of the sightseers who were 
allowed within the precincts on certain days. 

At Chatham the prisoners were brought in by 
the "Victory," "Defence," "Leviathan," "Con- 
queror," and " Revenge " ; each of which, on enter- 
ing the Medway, sent her contingent directly on 
board the four hulks which constituted the local 
war prison. Of these, the biggest hulk was an old 
three-decker, the "Sandwich," fitted to take on 
board upwards of twelve hundred men. The 
others were three obsolete seventy-fours, the 


" Buckingham," " Bristol," and " Rochester." * The 
Medway establishment was reckoned capable of 
taking between three and four thousand prisoners 
in all. As in due course fresh prisoners came to 
hand, earlier arrivals were sent round by sea to 
Yarmouth, to be thence marched inland to the 
central depots at Weedon in Northamptonshire, 2 
and Norman Cross, near Yaxley, in Huntingdon- 
shire, this last a huge establishment covering forty 
acres of ground, where six thousand prisoners in 
all were confined under a strong guard of yeo- 
manry and two regiments of militia. Thither in 
due course many of the Trafalgar prisoners 
found their way. Of those who remained, many 
died on board the Medway hulks. They were 
buried in the marshes beside St. Mary's Creek, 
opposite Gillingham, in a strip of ground, out of 
the way and forgotten until a few years ago, when, 
during some excavations in connexion with Chat- 
ham Dockyard, their bones were unearthed. The 
remains were reverently collected and reinterred, 
in the presence of the French naval attache in 
England, within a railed-in enclosure two hundred 
feet square, laid out with flower-beds, shrubs, and 
gravel paths. In the centre the Admiralty had 

1 To these during 1806 were added two of the four prizes made at 
Trafalgar which survived the storm the " Bahama " and the French 
' ' Swiftsure " (renamed by us the ' ' Irresistible ''). They were both 
made prison hulks of, and the Chatham establishment was enlarged up 
to 5,000 men. 

2 The remains of Weedon Prison were only destroyed three or four 
years ago. 


a memorial of stone erected ; comprising, on a raised 
pedestal, a finely carved female figure in armour, 
cloaked and holding in her hand an inverted torch, 
the figure being surmounted by a canopy of stone, 
also fittingly carved and decorated. A granite 
panel was placed on one face of the pedestal with 
this inscription in gilt letters : 

Here are gathered together 

The remains of many brave soldiers and sailors 

Who having once been the foes and afterwards 

The captives of England, 

Now find rest in her soil, 

Remembering no more the animosities of war, or 

The sorrows of imprisonment. 
They were deprived of the consolation of closing 

Their eyes 

Among the countrymen they loved, 
But they have been laid in an honoured grave 
By a nation which knows how to respect valour 
And to sympathise with misfortune. 

Recently, owing to further dockyard extensions, 
the remains, as well as the memorial, have been 
moved to a selected space in front of the Royal 
Naval Barracks at Chatham. 

The "Royal Sovereign,"" Belleisle,"and "Bellero- 
phon," with the "Conqueror" and "Achille," 
landed their contingents of Trafalgar prisoners 
at Plymouth, to be distributed between the old 
Mill Bay Prison, where there were kept ordinarily 
from from four to five thousand prisoners, and 
among the eight hulks then in the Hamoaze. 

Hoppey Turner] 


[The original painting was exhibited at the Royal Naval Exhibition at Chelsea, in 1891, 
by Messrs. E. and E. Emanuel, Portsea, by whose kind permission it is here repro- 


To face p. 392 


A large number of the Plymouth prisoners, and 
the Trafalgar captives among them, were later 
transferred to Dartmoor War Prison. Mill Bay 
Prison was closed not long afterwards, and the rest 
of the prisoners on shore at Plymouth were dis- 
tributed between Stapleton Prison, near Bristol, 
where normally 5,000 were detained, and Norman 
Cross. 1 

Very little is on record of the life in England 
of the Trafalgar prisoners. Napoleon had his 
reasons for keeping most of them where they 
were. Beyond some half-dozen officers, not a single 
one apparently was granted an exchange, and they 
had to endure their lot to the end, until the peace 
of 1814. The officers, sick at heart with hope 
deferred, their careers cut short, their prospects of 

1 A few years ago the remains of a number of French prisoners were 
disinterred during some digging operations in Athenaeum Street, Ply- 
mouth. They were buried with befitting marks of respect in Ply- 
mouth Cemetery. At Dartmoor, some little time after the present 
convict establishment was inaugurated there, one of the governors of 
the prison had the old, neglected resting-place of the deceased 
prisoners of war attended to, and the remains there properly reinterred 
and memorials erected ; one to Frenchmen and one to the American 
prisoners (taken in the war of 1812) who were also quartered at Dart- 
moor. The inscription in each case runs : " In memory of the French " 
(or " American '') " prisoners of war who died in Dartmoor prison be- 
tween the years 1809 and 1814, and are buried here. 'Dulce et 
decorum est pro patria mori."' The outer gateway of the modern 
penal establishment stands to this day as a memorial of the time when 
the great place of confinement held worthier inmates. It is an arch- 
way composed of five huge granite slabs, on the topmost of which, 
deeply incised, is the legend impressive, no doubt, but poor enough 
in its consolation to those compelled to pass inside "Parcere 


promotion blighted, separated from friends and 
home, without hearing a word from one year's end 
to another, strangers in a strange land, had to drag 
out their monotonous existence as best they could, 
amid the dull surroundings of the English country 
towns in which they were interned. For the men 
it meant nine interminable years of caged exist- 
ence : behind the sentry- watched palisades of 
Forton, or herded together within the keep of 
Porchester, with dreary mud-flats on three sides, 
and the bald, featureless mass of Portsdown at the 
back ; cramped up in overcrowded hulks amid the 
desolate marshes of the Medway ; or chilled to the 
marrow for nine months of the year in " Siberian 
exile " (as Napoleon termed it) on the wind-swept 
uplands of Dartmoor ; or in the little less cheerless 
barrack gaols of Stapleton and Weedon, or bleak 
and barren Norman Cross. 

There remains but one thing more to close the 
account. The enemy's story of Trafalgar ends 
with the passing bell for Admiral Villeneuve. 

Admiral Villeneuve was released in April, 1806, 
after a little more than five months' captivity, 
counting from the date of his surrender ; in ex- 
change for four British post-captains, according to 
the regulation rate of exchange. His departure 
was made very quietly, and was unnoticed. Accom- 
panied only by his servant, he left Reading for 
the Sussex coast and crossed in a small boat, 


which landed him at Morlaix in Brittany. From 
Morlaix Villeneuve wrote to the Minister of 
Marine, reporting his arrival in France, and asking 
for instructions. He would await Decres' reply, 
he said, at Kennes ; and proposed after that to 
proceed to Paris, where he trusted he would have 
an opportunity of personally making an official 
statement to His Imperial Majesty. 

Villeneuve then went on to Rennes and put up 
at the Hotel de la Patrie until the courier from 
the Ministry of Marine should arrive. From a 
newspaper he learned that Captains Lucas and 
Infernet, who had been exchanged a few weeks 
previously, had both been promoted to the rank of 
rear-admiral, and were to be received in audience 
by the Emperor at St. Cloud. He wrote to 
Lucas at once, congratulating him heartily, and 
sending his compliments to Infernet. Then he 
added a request of his own in regard to his inten- 
tions. He had before him, said Admiral Ville- 
neuve, the painful duty of naming those whose 
conduct at Trafalgar had nullified his plans and led 
to the destruction of the fleet and the humiliation 
of the national flag. His own personal justification, 
the highest interests of the service, the honour of 
France and of the Imperial Navy in particular, 
required imperatively that he should insist on a 
full inquiry and punishments. He proposed to call 
on him (Captain Lucas), as a witness before the 
Court of Inquiry, and he earnestly hoped that 


Lucas would be able to remain a few days longer 
in Paris, so that he might meet him there. That 
letter, the authenticity of which there is no reason 
to doubt, shows at least the frame of mind in which 
Villeneuve was when he arrived at Rennes. His 
mood, however, would seem to have changed within 
a day or two. 

No reply came from Decres ; and, surprised and 
anxious at the Minister of Marine's ominous 
silence, Admiral Villeneuve passed into a state 
of nervous depression that culminated in deep 
dejection. Decres, it has been said, purposely 
deferred his answer, for reasons of his own ; being 
unwilling also to compromise his own position with 
the Emperor. Villeneuve's case, he reasoned, in 
Napoleon's present mood towards the unfortunate 
admiral, was hopeless. No letter from the Minister 
of Marine had arrived at Rennes by the evening 
of the 21st of April. 

Next morning the hapless French admiral was 
found dead in bed, with six stabs in his chest. 

What took place in the death-chamber, in what 
circumstances Admiral Villeneuve came by his 
end, has never been made exactly clear. An ugly 
rumour of foul play got about soon after the news 
of his death was made public. According to the 
story which had a wide vogue all over the Con- 
tinent and in England, it was a case of midnight 
murder, to serve Napoleon's purposes and prevent 


disclosures as to the true state of the fleet sent 
to its doom at Trafalgar. An elaborate tale went 
the round, of mysterious strangers arriving at the 
Hotel de la Patrie late on the evening of the 
21st and disappearing before next morning. They 
were in civilian clothes, but for all that were 
really gendarmes, charged with special instruc- 
tions from Barrere, Prefect of the Secret Police of 
St. Cloud. The body, said the account, was found 
stabbed to the heart and lying face downwards on 
the bed ; resting on the handle of the knife with 
which the deed was done : in an impossible position 
except in a case of murder. 1 In Paris the mot, 
which first went the round on the occasion of the 
death of Pichegru, was heard again : " How un- 
fortunate Napoleon really is : all his enemies die of 
their own accord ! " As far as is known, however, 
it actually was a case of suicide. 

The circumstances of the affair were investigated 
on the day after the discovery by M. Mounier, the 
Prefect of the Department of He et Vilaine, an 
official of integrity and reputation, assisted by 
Colonel of Artillery Camas and two juges de 
paix. The post-mortem, held that forenoon, was 
conducted by three medical men. The proces- 
verbal drawn up by the head of the Rennes police, 

1 Later a report even got about in the French Navy that Captain 
Magendie himself assassinated the admiral at Decres' instigation. It 
was circulated so widely that in 1814 Magendie thought it advisable 
to publish a " Memoire " in self-defence. ( ff Victoires et Conquetes/' 
vi. p. 193.) 


went to show that the admiral was found dead, 
undressed, and lying on the bed on his back. 
There were five wounds in the chest, and a sixth 
with a knife sticking in it, driven home to the 
hilt. It was an ordinary table-knife, which the 
admiral might have kept back after his supper. 
The room door was locked, and the key was on 
the inside. Villeneuve's servant was examined, 
and stated that his master had appeared strange in 
his manner for two or three days previously. So 
much so, indeed, that he, the servant, had thought 
it advisable to draw the charges from his pistols. 
How the admiral had secreted the knife the 
servant could not explain. He hazarded the con- 
jecture, from something his master had said, that 
he had applied for an audience of the Emperor and 
been refused. 

The proces-verbal proceeded to state that on the 
table in the room was found a letter addressed to 
Madame Villeneuve, the admiral's wife. Beside 
it were some packets of money, each with the sum 
marked on it in the admiral's handwriting, and 
the name of the person for whom it was intended. 
In the admiral's baggage were found Villeneuve's 
telescope, labelled "A 1'intrepide Infernetl"; and 
his speaking trumpet, labelled " Pour toi, brave 
Lucas ! " 

The admiral's letter to his wife was in the 
following terms. 


" RENNES, le 21 avril 1806. 

" A Madame Villeneuve, nee Dantoine, 
a Valensole (Basses- Alpes). 

"Ma tendre amie, comment recevras-tu ce 
coup ? Helas, je pleure plus sur toi que sur moi. 
C'en est fait, j'en suis arrive au terme ou la vie 
est un opprobre et la mort un devoir. Seul ici, 
frappe d'anatheme par 1'empereur, repousse par 
son ministre, qui fut mon ami, charge d'une res- 
ponsabilite immense dans un desastre qui m'est 
attribue, et auquel la fatalite m'a entraine, je dois 
mourir ! Je sais que tu ne peux gouter aucune 
apologie de mon action. Je t'en demande pardon, 
mille fois pardon, mais elle est necessaire et j'y 
suis entraine par le plus violent de'sespoir. Vis 
tranquille, emprunte les consolations des doux 
sentiments de religion qui t'animent ; mon espe- 
rance est que tu y trouveras un repos qui m'est 
refuse. Adieu ! adieu ! seche les larmes de ma 
famille et de tous ceux auxquels je puis etre 
cher. Je voulais finir, je ne puis. Quel bon- 
heur que je n'aie aucun enfant pour recueillir 
mon horrible heritage et qui soit charge' au poids 
de mon nom ! Ah ! je n'etais pas ne pour un 
pareil sort; je ne 1'ai pas cherche, j'y ai ete 
entraine malgre moi. Adieu ! adieu ! 



Prefect Mounier and his colleagues in the com- 
mission, with all the evidence, both police and 
medical, before them, recorded as their finding, 
"Death from self-inflicted wounds." They for- 
warded all the documents, with the admiral's 
baggage and his private papers and other personal 
belongings, to Paris for the Minister of Police, 
Fouche, to arrange as to their disposition. The 
body of the ill-fated admiral was buried at night, 
without military honours being rendered. 

Villeneuve's letter to his wife was kept back in 
Paris. The rest of the papers found, and the 
admiral's personal property, were handed over to 
the family. Fouche', after what he called " a hasty 
examination," forwarded everything to Decres as 
" useless to the police " ; with this proviso : Most 
of the admiral's private papers, he said, ought to 
be sent to Madame Villeneuve. He would, how- 
ever, for himself, draw the Minister of Marine's par- 
ticular attention to one letter that written by 
"Rear -Admiral" Villeneuve shortly before his 
suicide. It tended to show his motives in the act. 
That letter should be returned by Madame Ville- 
neuve after perusal ; or at least an authenticated 
copy of it should be made, " afin de pouvoir," in 
Fouche's own words, "sil y avait lieu, etre a 
meme de de'truire les bruits qu'on pourrait essayer 
de r^pandre sur le genre de mort de cet ancien 
general." Decres thought it best not to forward 
the letter at all. He replied that he had eighteen 


other papers of Villeneuve's which he would add 
to what had been found, and, with the exception 
of the letter to the widow, would hand all over to 
the family. As to the letter, he said, Villeneuve's 
brothers had learnt of the existence of such a 
document, and had desired him to suppress it. 
He proposed to have a copy made and supplied to 
M. Jules de Villeneuve, the elder brother, retaining 
the original at the Ministry of Marine. The letter 
remained a secret to the world, outside the Ville- 
neuve family who with one accord at the time 
(as they have done ever since), declined to accept 
its authenticity until 1828, nearly a quarter of a 
century after Trafalgar. Then it saw the light in 
the thirty-sixth volume of "Annales Maritimes," 
an official compilation published in Paris under the 
auspices of the Ministry of Marine. 

An extraordinary letter, 1 addressed to the Em- 
peror by Admiral Villeneuve, is said to have been 
found also in the dead admiral's room. The 
whereabouts of the original is unknown. The only 
copy in existence was discovered a few years ago 
among the private papers of Sir Arthur Paget, 
who in 1805 was British Envoy Extraordinary 
and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of 
Vienna, and Pitt's principal agent in effecting the 
formation of the coalition against Napoleon which 

1 The letter is quoted in full in the second volume of " The Paget 
Papers/' pp. 278-82. 
2 D 


failed so disastrously at Austerlitz. How it came 
into the ambassador's possession is unknown, and 
grave doubt has been cast on its authenticity ; 
for one thing in view of the fact that it bristles 
with phrases no seaman could have used, while 
others of its expressions no Frenchman, certainly 
no man of Villeneuve's culture, could have penned. 
The date at the head of the letter, "Avril 6," is of 
itself suspicious. On that day Villeneuve was 
crossing the Channel. He did not reach Rennes 
until the afternoon of the 17th. Also the signa- 
ture " De " Villeneuve is curious, as the admiral 
had for years discarded the particle nobiliaire. 

If authentic, it disposes, once for all, of ques- 
tions as to the admiral's sanity and as to whether 
or not he committed suicide. It had lain for 
years among Sir Arthur Paget's papers, as he 
himself originally put it away. The document 
which, as found, was endorsed " Copie d'une 
lettre de 1'Amiral Villeneuve a Bonaparte, ecrite 
la matine'e de son suicide," expresses throughout 
the most intense hatred for Napoleon and his 
" creatures," whose " incapacity and pride " were 
the cause of the ruin of the French Navy. This 
resume will give a fair idea of its contents : 

Addressing the Emperor as " Monsieur," the 
letter opens by referring Napoleon to Villeneuve's 
interview with Decres at the Ministry of Marine, 
when the command of the fleet at Toulon was 
first offered to him. He refused flatly, says 


the writer, to be La Touche Treville's successor, 
because he felt convinced that only disaster awaited 
so ill-conceived and risky a venture. "J'etois 
persuade alors que chaqu'un qui dirrigeroit 1'avan- 
turiere et mauvaise expedition de la flotte unie 
Fran9aise et Espagnole, seroit battu honteuse- 
ment, si meme elle auroit la fortune de sauver 
sa vie d'une bataille qui contre un ennemi lequel 
couvre toutes les Mers de ses batiments etoit 
inevitable." These, the writer affirms, were his 
actual words ("mot pour mot les paroles que j'ai 
dit") to the Minister of Marine. 

After his first arrival at Cadiz to pick up 
Gravina, he goes on, he tendered his resignation 
"J'ai envoye avec ma premiere Depeche ma pre- 
miere resignation " which, he also adds, he again 
tendered on three occasions ; from Martinique, 
from Ferrol, and once more from Cadiz, on being 
ordered to return to the Mediterranean. He 
obeyed that order, but, before sailing, he once more 
repeated to the Minister of Marine his original 
apprehensions as to the utter hopelessness of the 
move, and for the fifth time expressed his wish 
to be relieved of his command : " Ma forte resolu- 
tion de renoncer a un Poste perilleux ou vain- 
queur ou vaincu auquel je serois incapable d'etre 

Why, he then asks, were his Trafalgar despatches 
suppressed ; kept out of the " Moniteur," while a 
ready ear was lent to those who had anything to 


say against him ? " L'infortune de Trafalgar," he 
says, "ne doit pas etre attribute a quelque faute 
ou manque de courage, et je 1'ai assez prouve dans 
ma Note Officielle sur la bataille de Mer ; pourquoi 
a-t-on refusd la place a cette Note dans le Moni- 
teur ? En attendant, les injures et accusations de 
mes ennemis et de mes envieux y ont dtd re9ues." 

Proceeding, he taxes Napoleon with having used 
language towards him tantamount to a sentence of 
death. "Vous meme," he tells the Emperor, 
" lorsque vous recutes ma Note Officielle, pendant 
votre heureuse et ambitieuse expedition en Alle- 
magne, disiez avec votre petulance barbare: 'Je 
vois qu'il faut absolument un example d'un brigand 
Francais pour faire d'une victoire de ma puissance 
sur Mer une journaliere.' Mille voix repetoient 
cette expression, et la sentence de mort insensible 
qu'un usurpateur Stranger pronon9a centre un 
amiral Francais patriote ; et en attendant on ne 
prit aucune connoissance de ma Depeche, on 
n'entendoit rien d'elle ; elle n'a pas meme 4t lue." 
This sharp home-thrust follows as to the reason 
for withholding the despatch : " Cette Depeche 
contenoit vraiment quelques verite"s ameres, qui 
n'auroient pas contributes a mettre vos capacite's 
nautiques dans un lustre brillant, mais au con- 
traire, demontroient que celui dont 1'incapacit^ et 
orgeuil a caus la perte d'une flotte Fran9aise a 
Aboukir, etoit aussi la cause de la destruction d'une 
autre a Trafalgar." 


The remainder of the letter, which takes up 
several pages, is devoted mainly to a series of bitter 
personal attacks on Napoleon himself and on his 
family, and a general indictment of " les complices 
de sa mechancete, Dues, Marechaux et Chevaliers," 
who had ruined and enslaved the nation for their 
own private ends and gain ; battening on victories 
which had been obtained " par le sang le plus pur, 
et par les tresors les plus nobles de la France." 
"During the tyranny which you have practised 
throughout these years, my country and its allies 
have already lost more ships of war than the 
Royal Navy possessed during the greater part of 
the reign of Louis XIV and XV, and if my 
country were to endure much longer the curse of 
subjection to your iron sceptre, its naval power 
would soon be brought down to as low a level as 
that to which its commerce by sea has already 
sunk, and its ports will only contain shameless 
pirates and merchants reduced to beggary." 

An amazing threat is given vent to. He him- 
self, declares the writer, as the letter draws towards 
its close, had designed to rid the world of Napo- 
leon, " The Order sent to me from your Ministers 
not to approach the Capital without their permis- 
sion has deferred for a time your punishment, and 
the deliverance of the human race from its 
scourge ! " [" a prolonge encore 1'espace de votre 
punition et la delivration du genre humain de son 
fleau."] " Had it not been for that order, I would 


undoubtedly have removed you from among living 
men ! " [" Je vous aurois sans doute efface du 
nombre des vivans."] " Resolved as I am not to 
survive the destruction of the Fleet of France, I 
would have accomplished it before laying hands on 
myself, bereft at your instance as I have been of 
my honour, opportunity of duty, social position, 
and my character." 

The writer concludes with this outburst by way 
of peroration : " Tremble, tyrant 1 You live 
abhorred. You shall die beneath the weight 
of the world's curse, which shall pursue you be- 
yond the tomb ! " " Tremble, Tyran ! "are the 
words actually used, " tu vis abhorre, tu mourra 
sous le poid du blaspheme de tout le monde qui te 
poursuivra encore au dela de ton tombeau. 


With one detail more the story of the final 
phase of Trafalgar on the enemy's side reaches its 
termination. Minister of Marine Decres did not 
forget the widow of his old-time messmate, left 
as she was in poverty. At the first convenient 
opportunity he, of his own initiative apparently, 
laid before Napoleon a personal appeal, asking that 
a pension in accordance with her late husband's 
rank should be granted to Madame Villeneuve. 
It was two and a half years after Trafalgar, in 
April, 1808, before Admiral Decres felt himself in 
a position to broach the matter to the Emperor ; 


and even after that interval he had difficulty, it 
would seem, in arousing the Imperial sympathy 
for the wife of " le vaincu de Trafalgar." He put 
the case as strongly as he could. All said and 
done, wrote Decres, in laying the matter before 
Napoleon, in spite of his last campaign and un- 
happy end, Villeneuve was a brave officer and a 
worthy servant of the Empire. He had performed 
numerous services of importance, and his personal 
devotion to Napoleon was well known. 1 None 
could gainsay the worth of his character, " le senti- 
ment d'honneur qu'il portait jusqu' a 1'exaltation." 
The Minister of Marine suggested that a pension 
of six thousand francs should be bestowed on 
Madame Villeneuve, It had been done, he pointed 
out, in the case of Madame Bruix, the widow of 
the vice-admiral in command of the Boulogne 
Flotilla in 1805. Both officers had been, remarked 
Decres, of the same grade. Napoleon, though, was 
not disposed to be generous in the present case. 
After some hesitation he yielded to the pleadings 
of Decres, but at the same time he put his pen 
through the Minister of Marine's figures, cutting 
down the proposed pension by a third, and making 
Madame Villeneuve's grant four thousand francs. 

1 " Un brave militaire et un digne serviteur de Votre Majeste " 
were the words Decres used. He would hardly have said that had 
Villeneuve's hand penned the letter in the Paget Papers. 



SINCE Trafalgar both France and Spain have 
recognised their indebtedness to some of 
those who in adverse circumstances valiantly up- 
held the honour of the flag and did their best. 

France "aux braves hommes la Patrie recon- 
naissante " has placed the names of four Trafalgar 
officers, Magon (underlined, as that of an officer 
killed in action), Cosmao, Lucas, and Infernet, 
on the Arc de Triomphe, and the memories of 
three of these four officers also have been pre- 
served in the names of men-of-war of the French 
Navy. There is a " Redoutable " in the French 
Navy to-day, also an " Intrepide," an " Indompt- 
able," a "Formidable," a "Neptune," and an 
" Argonaute," all named after ships that fought 
at Trafalgar. 

In Spain, the other victim of the "stricken 
field," it was taken as an honour to have been 
vanquished by so renowned an antagonist ; to have 
gone down in fair fight before Nelson. Spanish 
honour was more than satisfied. Exclaimed Ad- 



miral Gravina, the mortally wounded Spanish 
Commander-in-Chief, when he was on his death- 
bed : " I am a dying man, but I die happy ; I am 
going, I hope and trust, to join Nelson, the greatest 
hero that the world perhaps has produced ! " l He 
died in the arms of his brother, Archbishop 
Gravina of Nicea, his eyes fixed on a crucifix held 
close before him, and with these words it was said 
at the funeral service on his lips : " Rey immortal 
de los siglos : quien os hubiesa serviedo con aquel 
zelo y eficacia con que he servido a los Reyes 
de la tierra ! " Compare with that Nelson's last 
words in the cockpit of the "Victory": "Thank 
God, I have done my duty ! " 

To this day, the visitor to the Armeria Real 
in Madrid will find the name "Trafalgar" in- 
scribed on the roll of famous days on which Spain's 
bravest and best have done their duty ; and the 
giving of the name " Calle Trafalgar " to one of the 
streets of the capital shows also that Spain was by 
no means conscious of disgrace at the way in which 
her sons had borne themselves in defeat. She was 
not then, and she is not now. Speaking only the 
other day of the Trafalgar centenary, a modern 
Spanish writer, an officer of rank, referred to the 
occasion as "El centenario de la gloriosa pagina 
de nuestra Marina." 

1 Related by Sir James Fellowes (then Dr. Fellowes), who visited 
Gravina a day or two before his death, to Lady Malmesbury, and re- 
corded in the "Diary of the first Earl of Malmesbury/' vol. IV, 
p. 354. 


No fewer than six pictures, illustrative of inci- 
dents of Trafalgar, hang in the Museo Naval at 
Madrid, in addition to portraits of the admirals 
and most of the captains present in the battle. 
Their swords and pistols are also exhibited 
there, together with Gravina's shot-torn flag 
and cocked hat and sword, of which previous 
mention has been made ; with, as has also been 
said, models of certain of the ships in Ad- 
miral Gravina's fleet. In addition, on the walls of 
the gallery specially dedicated to "Reliquias de 
marines celebres y muertos en combate," is dis- 
played a finely executed memorial tablet, on 
which are inscribed, " Para eterna memoria," the 
names of all the officers who fell in action at Tra- 
falgar, or died of their wounds after "aquella 
glorissisima derrota." 

Immediately after Trafalgar, as has been said, 
Gravina then lying in hospital in Cadiz was 
promoted "Capitan General de la Armada " (a rank 
equivalent to our own "Admiral of the Fleet"), 
and every other officer engaged in the battle, down 
to the junior " guardia marina," or midshipman, was 
advanced a step in rank. At the same time every 
Spanish sailor and soldier was granted treble pay 
for the day. On November 6th, 1859, by order of 
the Cortes, the " Madrid Gazette " announced the 
granting of life-pensions to all surviving " veterans 
of 1805 " who fought at Trafalgar, on proofs of 
identity ; five reales a day each to warrant and 


petty and non-commissioned officers, four reales 
to sailors and soldiers. Public monuments, as we 
have also seen, 
were erected 
in their native 
towns to the 
captains who 
fell in action. 
A statue in the 
Plaza Mayor 
of Vittoria 
rates to this 
day the Span- 
ish Second- 
in -Command, 
Vice -Admiral 
Alava, who 
survived Tra- 
falgar many 
years. Since 
1805, also, 
from time to 
time, the 
names of the 
leading Span- 
ish officers at 
Trafalgar have 
figured on the Spanish Navy List for men-of-war ; 
in particular those of the two admirals, Gravina 


With the tablets in memory of Churruca and Galiano 


and Alava, and their flag-captains, Escano and 
Gardoqui, as well as the names of the three com- 
modores, Valdez, Galiano, and Churruca. Memorial 
tablets inscribed with the names of Churruca and 
Galiano, stand beside Gravina's tomb in the chapel 
of the Panteon de Marinos Illustres at San Fer- 
nando. Two of the principal thoroughfares of 
Cadiz have ever since 1805 borne the names of 
Alcala Galiano, and Churruca. 

A few years ago, moreover, at the instance of 
Don Luis de Mendoza, a man of mark among his 
countrymen, who fought at Trafalgar as a " guardia 
marina" and captain's A.D.C. on board Admiral 
Gravina's flagship, the last surviving Spanish Tra- 
falgar officer of all, a project was set on foot to erect 
a monument on Cape Trafalgar to the memory of 
the Spanish officers and men who fell in the battle ; 
but in the end the proposal, though not unfavour- 
ably received, fell through, and it has not been 
heard of since. 

Just as we in England in October, 1905, com- 
memorated the centenary celebration of Nelson's 
death by a special religious service in Trafalgar 
Square, so in Spain on the same day, Saturday the 
21st, the modern Spanish Navy officially observed 
the occasion by a special religious service at the 
Panteon de Marinos Illustres, San Fernando, in 
the chapel where Gravina's remains lie. It opened 
with a requiem mass before the high altar in the 
Panteon, at which the Commandant -General, 


admirals and captains and other officers attended, 
with a detachment of seamen from the naval 
barracks. After that, priests and choir, officers and 
men, all went in procession to the tomb, before 
which eight large funereal candles stood burning. 
Forming round, the choir chanted prayers for the 
repose of the souls of the illustrious dead, for 
Gravina himself first, and for rest to the souls 
of Churruca and Galiano. The service was con- 
ducted in the most impressive and solemn manner, 
perfectly in keeping with the occasion, the officers 
and seamen chanting the responses in low tones 
in unison with the choir. 

" Trafalgar," said Mr. Fyffe, in his " History of 
Modern Europe," "was not only the greatest naval 
victory, it was the greatest and most momentous 
victory won either by land or by sea during the 
whole of the Revolutionary War. No victory, 
and no series of victories, of Napoleon, produced 
the same effect upon Europe." " Nelson's last 
triumph," says Captain Mahan, "left England in 
such a position that no means remained to injure 
her but those which must result in the ultimate 
deliverance of the Continent. Moscow and 
Waterloo are the inevitable consequences of 
Trafalgar." So too a French writer of distinction 
has avowed : " It was the fleet of Nelson that 
was the victor at Waterloo." " Malgr les appar- 


ences, ce n'est pas dans les flammes de Moscou que 
c'est evanouie la fortune de Napoleon ; elle s'est 
engloutie dans les eaux de Trafalgar. En vain 
les victoires succederent aux victoires. Tous les 
triomphes du continent ne le sauveront pas ; le he>os 
a et4 frapp a mort d'une blessure secrete. . . . Ce 
sont les vaisseaux de 1'Angleterre qui ont vaincus a 
Waterloo ! " 

Trafalgar gave Great Britain the opportunity to 
"save Europe." It rendered Berlin Decrees and 
Milan Decrees mere paper thunderbolts ; the miss- 
fires of an angry Jove. It stopped the earth ; and 
afterwards the run was certain, and the kill. The 
end, of course, was not yet. Years of incessant 
fighting had yet to pass 

Till on that field where last the Eagles swooped, 
A mighty master wielded Britain's sword ; 
And the dark soul, the world could not subdue, 
Bowed to thy genius, Prince of Waterloo ! 

England had yet much to do, no doubt, to main- 
tain and utilize the position she had won ; and 
much to endure increasing navy estimates year 
by year, and the task of keeping at sea yet bigger 
fleets than before ; but the key of the situation 
had passed into her hand at Trafalgar. Without 
Trafalgar, hardly a brigade could have landed 
in Portugal ; there could have been no Peninsular 
War; and without the Peninsular War hardly a 
Waterloo. The " Sauve qui peut ! " of the night 


of the 18th of June, 1815, was the natural con- 
sequence of the surrender on the quarter-deck of 
the French flagship " Bucentaure " at three o'clock 
in the afternoon of Monday the 21st of October, 
1805. Trafalgar cracked the feet of clay across : 
Waterloo but dealt the coup de grace that sent 
the doomed Colossus over. 

And, at the same time, it was Napoleon person- 
ally who suffered at the hands of Nelson, rather 
than that the peoples of France and Spain under- 
went humiliation. It was the vital check in his 
career to the usurper and despot at whose bidding 
untold thousands of the best and bravest of the 
sons of Europe laid down their lives on a hundred 
battlefields between the Moskowa and the lines 
of Torres Vedras. Trafalgar it was that, in its 
wide-reaching outcome, cleared the way for the 
ultimate freeing of the French nation from the 
thraldom of the Napoleonic regime and enabled 
Spain to attempt her own salvation. It may with 
perfect truth be said that we owe to Trafalgar the 
ninety years of peace between England and France 
that have happily continued since the downfall of 
Napoleon, during which period also Frenchmen and 
Englishmen have stood side by side against more 
than one foe. The roads of Aix and the quarter- 
deck of the "Bellerophon," cliff-girt St. Helena in 
mid-ocean, became certainties for the Man of 
Destiny and for mankind on that October 


afternoon off Cape Trafalgar ; St. Helena, and the 
haunting shapes of Longwood 

. . . tristesque ex aethere Dirae, 

Et scissa gaudens vadit Discordia palla, 

Quam cum sanguineo sequitur Bellona flagello. 

The sequel and ultimate result of Trafalgar has 
been the now nearly completed century of peace 
between Great Britain and France and Spain, 
which for the benefit of the world at large has 
culminated in our own day in harmony and good 
fellowship between the nations. Esto perpetua ! 
And so the curtain falls. 

Silence is now upon the seas, 

The stormy seas of yore ; 
The thunder of the cannonade 

Awakes the wave no more ! 



BY the special courtesy of the Minister of Marine in Paris 
I am permitted to reproduce here the text of the Fleet 
Circular issued by Admiral Villeneuve to his captains at 
Toulon before the fleet originally sailed, which the admiral 
brought forward for discussion with the captains at Cadiz 
before Trafalgar. The copy here given has been made from 
an official draft, now preserved in Paris, and follows its 
orthography exactly. It covers four closely written sheets 
of manuscript, and was apparently the office copy kept 
by the flag-captain on board the " Bucentaure," afterwards 
saved from the wreck of the French flagship in Cadiz Bay. 


"La nuit je ne ferai de signaux que ceux absolument 
necessaires : les bailments particuliers n'en feriont que lorsqu'il 
leur sera impossible de me transmettre leurs avis verbalement au 
moyen des fregates et Corvettes et qu'il sera indispensable que 
je sois inform e sur le champ de 1'objet du signal. La necessity 
de cacher la marche de 1'escadre doit indiquer a chaque cap ne 
commandant combien 1'usage des signaux de nuit doit etre 
employe discretement, et 1'attention qu'ils doivent avoir a cacher 
leurs feux pendant la nuit. Les memes motifs doivent leur 
faire sentir la necessite de se tenir rallies, et de se communi- 
quer verbalement la position, la voilure et la route de 1'amiral 
lorsq'uelle peut laisser quelque incertitude. 

" Je ne propose pas d'aller chercher 1'ennemi ; je veux meme 

1'eviter pour me rendre a ma destination ; mais si nous le 

rencontrions, point de manoeuvres honteuses ; elles decourager- 

aient nos equipages et entreneraient [sic] notre defaite. Si 

2 E 417 


1'ennemi est sous le vent a nous, maitres de nos manoeuvres, 
nous formerons notre ordre de bataille, nous arriverons sur lui 
tous a la fois : chacun de nos V eaux combat celui qui lui corre- 
spond dans la ligne ennemie et ne doit pas hesiter a 1'aborder 
si la circonstance lui est favorable. Je vous ferai peu de 
signaux mais j'attends tout du courage de chaque cap ne , de celui 
des officiers et des equipages et de la circonstance qui a reuni 
a bord de nos vaisseaux une portion des plus braves troupes de 

' ' Tout Cap ne Comm* qui ne serait pas dans le feu ne serait 
pas a son poste ; celui dont le matelot d'avant ou d'arriere serait 
plus pres de 1'ennemi que lui ne serait pas a son poste et un 
signal pour le lui rappeler serait une tache deshonorante 
pour lui. 

" Les fregates doivent egalement prendre part a 1' action, car 
si n'en ai pas besoin pour repeter mes signaux; elle doivent 
choisir le point ou leur co-operation peut tre avantageuse pour 
decider la defaite d'un V au Ennemi, pour soutenir un V an 
francais trop vivement presse, lui donner le secours de la 
remorque ou tout autre qui lui serait necessaire. Combien de 
chances de gloire sont ouvertes aux jeunes officiers comm* les 
fregates dans un combat comme celui que je viens de tracer ! 

"Si 1'Ennemi au contraire se presente au vent a nous et 
temoigne 1'intention de nous attaquer, nous devons 1'attendre 
sur une ligne de bataille bien serree. C'est a 1'intelligence et a 
1'habilite du V eaxa - de tete a ne faire que la voile necessaire 
et a ne tenir le vent qu'autant qu'il lui faut pour favoriser la for- 
mation de cet ordre. L'Ennemi ne se bornera pas a se former 
sur une ligne de bataille parallele a la notre et a venir nous 
livrer au combat d'artillerie, dont le succes appartient souvent 
an plus habile, mais toujours au plus heureux ; il cherchera & 
entourer notre arriere-garde, a nous traverser, et a porter sur 
ceux de nos V eaux qu'il aurait desunis, des pelotons des siens 
pour les envelopper et les reduire : dans ce cas c'est bien plus 
de son courage et de son amour de la gloire qu'un capitain 
Comm* doit prendre conseil, que des signaux de 1'amiral qui, 
peut etre, lui meme engage dans le combat et enveloppe dans 
la fumee, n'a plus la faculte d'en faire. C'est encore ici le cas 
de repeter qu'un cap ne qui n'est pas dans le feu n'est pas a son 
poste. L'ordre etant rompu, tous les efforts doivent tendre 


a se porter au Secours de V eaux assaillis et a se rapprocher du 
V eau amiral, qui en donnera 1'Exemple. A cette manoeuvre 
defensive (sic) doit en succeder une offensive. Par suite de cette 
manoeuvre 1'Ennemi doit avoir des V eaux demates qui doivent 
rester au milieu des notres ; c'est a les reduire que chacun doit 
s'appliquer, et c'est encore ici que les fregates doivent jouer un 
beau role et couvrir de gloire les officiers qui seront penetres de 
1'etendu de leur devoir, comme des droits qu'ils acquerront aux 
graces de 1'Empereur. 

' ' Rien ne doit nous etonner a la vue d'une escadre anglaise : 
leurs V 6301 de 74 n'ont pas 500 hommes & bord; ils sont harrasses 
par une croisiere de deux ans ; ils ne sont pas plus braves que 
nous, et ont infiniment moins de motifs d'Enthousiasme et 
d'amour de la patrie. Ils sont habiles a la manoeuvre ; dans 
un mois nous le serons autant. Enfin tout se reunit pour 
nous donner la confiance des succe"s les plus glorieux et d'une 
nouvelle ere pour la marine imperiale. 

" Je vous renvoie au surplus aux instructions pour les capitaines, 
au regie-went a V -usage de I'armce navale et a I' instruction particuliere 
pour la repetition des signaux, imprimer a la tete du cahier des 
signaux a 1'usage de 1'Escadre. Elles contiennent d'excellentes 
maximes, dont vous devez bien vous penetrer et des dispositions 
que je maintiens dans toute leur Etendue. 

" II me sera bien agreable si, par suite de cette campagne, je 
n'ai comme je 1'espere, que des eloges a donner a la conduite, 
a 1'habilite et a 1'exactitude dans le Service, des Cap nes Comm t8 
et officiers attaches a 1'escadre. Vous connaissez assez 1'Empereur 
et combien est grande la maniere dont il recompense les bons 
services et vous ne devez nullement douter de la part qui vous 
en est reservee par suite de la campagne qui nous aliens 

"Veuillez recevoir Monsieur le Command* 1'assurance de 
mon sincere attachement. 


" Pour copie conforme 
L'adjudant Com 1 de 1'armee. 




THE following is an exact transcript of Admiral Ville- 
neuve's Trafalgar despatch, or " Compte Rendu," made 
by permission of the Minister from the original document 
preserved among the archives of the Ministry of Marine 
in Paris. It covers ten pages of "papier ministre," and 
is clearly and firmly and extremely neatly written in 
Admiral Villeneuve's own hand throughout, and is signed 
by him. Notes or corrections made by the admiral in the 
margin are here shown as footnotes, and certain sentences 
underlined by Villeneuve are here set out in italics. The 
spelling and punctuation are as in the MS. 

"A bord de la f regale anglaise fEurialus, 
"le 15 Novembre, 1805. 


"Dans la situation, ou j'ai le malheur de me trouver, Votre 
Ex. ne peut attendre de moi, qu'un rapport fidelle des evene- 
ments qui ont suivi mon depart de Cadix, exempt de toute 
observation sur les motifs qui ont dirige mes mouvements ; 
j'ai eu 1'honneur de vous ecrire jusqu'au dernier moment de ma 
sortie de la Baye de Cadix, et c'est de ce moment meme que je 
dois reprendre ma narration. 

"Le 28 vend re (20 8 bre ) toute 1'armee combined etoit sous 
voiles, dirigeant la route & TO. N. O. le vent frais de la partie 
S. S. O. J'ai fait le signal de prendre le ris que comportoit 
1'apparence du terns et de la mer, vers les 4 heures du soir 
le temps s'etant eclairci et le vent ayant passe au S. O. et 
& TO. S. O. j'ai pris les amures & tribord, manoeuvre pour rallier 
q. q. vaisseaux qui etaient tomb^s tres sous le vent et signale 
1'ordre de marche sur 3 colonnes, 1'escadre d'observation prenant 



la droite de 1'armee combinee ; je n'avais connaissance que de 
deux fregates ennemies dans le sud que j'ai donne ordre aux 
fregates de 1'armee de chasser. La nuit est venue sans que 
j'aye eu connaissance de 1'escadre ennemie et j'ai continue la 
meme route en proportionnant ma voilure sur celles des plus 
mauvais voiliers de 1'armee combinee. A 7 heures du soir j'ai 
vu jles signaux en avant que je ne pouvois pas distinguer, et a 
8 h 1' Argus est venu me dire de la part de 1'amiral Gravina, 
que le vaisseau I'Achille avoit eu connaissance, a 1'entree de la 
nuit de 1 8 vaisseaux ennemis dans le S. S. O. Comme la route 
que faisoit 1'armee devoit nous en rapprocher beaucoup j'ai signale 
la ligne de bataill tribord sans egard au paste assigne a chaque 
vaisseau en se formant sur ceux le plus sous le vent. J'ai couru 
ainsi toute la nuit sans changer de direction le vent a I'O. 
le cap. au S. S. O. ; nous avons eu connaissance des feux et des 
signaux de 1'ennemi dans le vent a nous. 

"Des que le jour s'est fait nous avons appercu 1'ennemi 
a I'O. au nombre de 33 voiles a la distance d'environ 2 1 , le 
cap Trafalgar a etc aussi apperu a 1'E. S. E. a 4 heures. J'ai fait 
signal aux fregates d'aller reconnoitre 1'ennemi, et a 1'armee de 
former la ligne de bataille tribord amures ordre naturel ; 1'amiral 
Gravina a en meme temps fait a 1'escadre d'observation celui de 
se placer a la tete de 1'armee combinee, le vent tres faible 
a I'O. la mer tres houleuse. 

" L'escadre Ennemie qui a ete bientot reconnue composee 
de 27 .vaisseaux de ligne me paraissoit se diriger en masse sur 
mon arriere garde avec le double motif de la combattre avec 
avantage et de couper a 1'armee combinee la retraite sur Cadix, 
j'ai fait le signal de virer vent arriere tons a lafois et de former la 
ligne de bataille basbord amures dans I' ordre renverse ; mon seul 
objet etant de garantir 1'arriere garde des efforts de la totalite 
des forces de 1'Ennemi. 

" Dans le nouvel ordre signale, la 3 e escadre, sous les ordres 
du cap. A 1 . Dumanoir formoit 1'avant garde ayant pour chef 
de file le vaisseau espagnol le Neptune commande par Don 
Gaetano Valdez officier estime. J'etois au centre avec la 
l ra escadre sur le Bucentaure le lieutenant general D. Allava 
suivoit avec la 2 e escadre et 1'escadre d'observation sous les 
ordres de 1'amiral Gravina formoit 1'arriere garde de 1'armee 
ayant sous lui le C. A. Magon sur le vaisseau 1'Algesiras. 


L'ennemi continuoit a faire porter sur nous toutes voiles dehors 
et & 9 h. je commencois & distinguer qu'il se developoit sur deux 
colones dont Tune se dirigeoit sur mon Vaiss 6 *" amiral et 1'autre 
sur 1'arriere de 1'armee ; le vent etoit tres faible, la mer 
houleuse et notre formation s'effectuoit avec beaucoup de 

" Mais dans le genre d'attaque que je prevoyais que 1'ennemi 
alloit nous faire, cette irregularite meme dans notre ligne, ne 
me paraissoit pas un inconvenient, si chaque vaisseau eut 
continue a serrer le vent sur son matelot et 1'eut conserve 
a petite distance ; j'ai fait nean-moins au vaisseau de tete 
le signal de serrer le vent et de forcer de voiles pour eviter 
que 1' engorgement ne fut trop grand ; et a 11 h. le signal 
a I' arriere-garde de tenir le vent pour la mettre a meme de couvrir 
le centre de 1'armee qui paraissoit etre le point sur lequel Fennemi 
sembloit vouloir porter les phis grands efforts. 

"Cependant 1'ennemi approchoit sensiblement quoique le 
vent fut extremement faible ; il avait a la tete de ses colones 
ses plus forts vaisseaux ; celle du Nord avoit en tete 4 vaisseaux 
a 3 ponts. A midi j'ai fait le signal de commencer le combat 
des qu'on seroit a portee et a midi un quart les premiers coups 
de canon ont ete tires des vaisseaux le Fougueux et la S te Anne, 
sur le vaisseau le Royal Sovereign, chef de file de la colone 
de droite portant pavilion du Vice-amiral Collingwood, le feu a 
ete interrompu un instant, il a repris un instant apres avec plus 
de vivacite par tous les vaisseaux qui ont ete a portee de le 
faire, ce qui n'a pas empeche ce vaisseau ennemi de couper 
la ligne en arriere de la S te Anne. 

"La colonne de gauche, conduite par le Victory portant 
pavilion de 1'amiral Nelson faisoit la meme manoeuvre et parais- 
soit vouloir couper en arriere de la S te Trinite et sur 1'avant du 
Bucentaure, mais soit qu'il ait trouve la ligne trop serree sur 
ce point, ou qu'il ait change d'avis par tout autre motif, 
il etait a demi portee de pistolet, et nous etions pret a 1'aborder, 
les grappins prets a etre jettees quand il a lance tout son 
stribord, et il est venu pour passer a poupe du Bucentaure. Le 
Redoutable occupoit la place du Neptune 1 derriere moi, il 
a honnorablement rempli le devoir d'un vaisseau matelot 
d' arriere d'un pavilion amiral il a aborde le Victory, mais cella 

1 Ce vaisseau etoit tombe sous le vent. 


n'a pas empeche que par la faiblesse du vent, qui rendoit tous 
les mouvements lents et difficiles, ce vaisseau qui etoit entraverse 
sous la poupe du Bucentaure ne lui ait envoye plusieurs bordees 
a triple charge, qui ont ete extremement meurtrieres et de- 
structives. C'est dans ce moment que j'ai fait le signal, aux 
vaisseaux qui par leur position actuelle ne combattent pas d'en prendre 
une quelconque qui les ramene au feu. II m'etoit impossible de 
distinguer 1'etat des choses au centre et a 1'arriere garde par la 
grande fumee qui nous envelopoit ; 

" Au vaisseau le Victory avoit succede deux autres vaisseaux a 
trois ponts 1 et plusieurs vaisseaux de 74 qui deffiloient lentement 
par 1'arriere du Bucentaure, je venois de faire le signal a Favant 
garde de virer de bord quand le grand mat et celui d'artimon sont 
tombes, les vaisseaux qui m'avoient ainsi passe a poupe me pro- 
longeoient sous le vent, sans qu'ils eussent beaucoup a souffrir du 
feu de nos batteries, une grande partie de nos canons etant deja 
demontes, et d'autres engages par la chute des mats. Dans un 
moment d'eclairci je m'appersus que tout le centre et 1'arriere 
garde de 1'armee avoit plie et que je me trouvois le vaisseaux 
le plus au vent ; le mat de mizaine qui nous restoit pouvoit 
faciliter notre retraite sous le vent oil se trouvoient plusieurs de 
nos vaisseaux qui ne paraissoient pas endommages, mais il finit 
par tomber, j'avois fait conserver un canot a la mer prevoyant 
le cas d'un dematement et dans 1'intention de me transporter 
sur un autre vaisseau, des que le grand mat eut tombe 
j'ordonnai de le faire preparer, mais soit qu'il ait ete coule par 
les boulets ou ecrase par la chute des mats, il ne fut pas 
retrouve. Je fis heller a la S te Trinite qui etoit en avant a nous 
si elle pouvoit envoyer un canot et nous donner une remorque, 
je n'en eus pas de reponse, ce vaisseau etoit lui-meme fortement 
engage avec un vaisseau a 3 ponts qui le canonoit en hanche. 
Enfin etant environne de vaisseaux ennemis qui s'etoient ac- 
cumules, par les hanches, sur 1'arriere et par le travers sous 
le vent, et etant dans 1'impossibilite de leur faire aucun mal 
les gaillards et la batterie de 24 etant abbandonnes jonches de 
morts et de blesses, toute la premiere batterie demontee ou 
embarrassee par les greements et les mats qui etoient tombes, 
le vaisseau isole au millieu des vaisseaux ennemis, sans mouve- 
ment et dans 1'impossibilite de lui en donner, il fallut ceder a ma 

1 Le Neptune, le Britannia. 


destinee et arreter une effusion de sang deja immense et 
desormais inutile. 

" Toute la partie de 1'armee a 1'arriere du Bucentaure, comme 
je 1'ai dit, avoit plie plusieurs vaisseaux etoient demates de tout 
mat et rendus a 1'ennemi, quelques-uns combattoient encore en 
faisant leur retraite sur un gros de vaisseaux qui me restoient 
a 1'Est. 

" Les vaisseaux de 1'escadre du C. A 1 Dumanoir qui avoient 
couru en avant paraissoient manceuvrer plusieurs des vaisseaux 
qui la composoit arrivoient pour se rallier aux vaisseaux les plus 
sous le vent tandis que 5 autres viroient de bord et prenoient 
les amures a tribord, ces vaisseaux ont passe au vent des deux 
armees, en echangeant des coups de canon, le plus souvent a 
grande distance ; le dernier de ces 5 vaisseaux qui etoit je crois 
le Neptune espagnol un peu plus sous le vent que les autres 
a ete oblige de se rendre. 

" Dans le genre d'attaque que 1'ennemi a fait sur nous, il en 
devoit resulter un pelle melle et une reunion de combats partiels 
qui ont ete soutenus avec la plus noble audace, 1'Ennemi doit 
ses avantages a la force de ses vaisseaux (dont 7 a 3 ponts et 
dont le moindre ne porte pas moins de 114 bouches a feu) a la 
force de son artillerie toute de gros calibre, au moyen de ses 
carronades, a 1'ensemble et a la celerite de ses manosuvres, a 
1'experience de 3 ans de mer sans interruption, experience qui 
manquoit entierement a une grande partie des vaisseaux de 
1'armee combinee. Le courage et le devourment a la patrie 
et a 1'Empereur des Etats-majors et equipages des vaisseaux de 
S. M. ne pouvoit etre surpasse, il s'est manifeste au signal 
de mettre sous voiles, a celui de se preparer au combat, par les 
applaudissements et les cris de Vive 1'Empereur dont mes 
signaux ont ete acqueillis ; je n'ai pas vu un homme ebranle 
a la vue de la formidable colonne de 1'Ennemi precede de 
quatre vaisseaux a 3 ponts qui se dirigeoient sur le vaisseau le 

" Je ne doute pas, Monseigneur que vous n'ayez deja recueilli 
les traits les plus honorables de la valeur qui a ete deployee 
dans cette journee malheureuse, par les rapports qui ont du 
deja vous etre addresses, par les differends chefs qui se sont 
trouves a portee de le faire. 

" Tant de courage et de devourment meritoit une meilleure 


destinee, mais le moment n'etait pas encore arrive ou la France 
aura a celebrer ses succes maritimes, ensemble avec ses victoires 
sur le continent. 

"Quant a moi, Monseigneur, profondement penettre de 
toute 1'etendue de mon malheur et de toute la responsabilite 
que comporte un aussi grand desastre, je ne desire rien tant 
que d'etre bientot a meme d'aller mettre aux pieds de S. M. ou 
la justification de ma conduite ou la victime qui doit etre 
immolee, non a 1'honneur du pavilion, qui, j'ose le dire, est 
demeur intact, mais aux manes de ceux qui auroient peri par 
mon imprudence, mon inconsideration ou 1'oubli de quelqu'un 
de mes devoirs. 

" Je prie votre Excellence d'agreer I'hommage de mon respect 


" J'ai ete enleve de mon vaisseau des qu'il a ete rendu et 
conduit par un vaisseau ennemi avec le cap 6 Majendie, I'adj* 
Com t Contamine un lieutenant de vaisseau M r Baudran et un 
aspirant attache a mon etat major general. Le cap 6 Majendie le 
chef d'etat major Prigny; M r d'Audignon lieutenant de vaisseau ; 
Gaudron (id) ont ete blesses ; presque tous ceux qui etoient sur 
le pont ont et6 tues ou blesses ; il m'est impossible de donner 
d'autres renseignements sur le nombre des morts et blesses du 
Bucentaure et des autres vaisseaux de 1'armee, mais il a du 
tre tres considerable, Votre Excellence aura recu tous les 
renseignements necessaire par les officiers arrives a Cadix. 
Aucun des vaisseaux fra^ais 1 (le Switsure excepte) n'ont pu 
etre releves de la cote dans le coup de vent qui a suivi 1'action, 
tous etant entierement demates et extremement maltraites 
dans toutes leurs autres parties. Le Switsure et 3 autres 
vaisseaux espagnols ont ete conduits a Gibraltar, un seul, le 
S fc Jean de Nepomucene qui n'etoit pas demate pourra etre 
remis en etat de servir. 

" L' Ennemi a fait des pertes tres sensibles entre autres celle 
de 1'Amiral lord Nelson et de plusieurs officiers marquants ; la 
plus grande partie de cette flotte est obligee de rentrer dans 
les ports de 1'Angleterre pour s'y reparer." 

1 Pris par 1'Ennemi. 



THE larger plan here given is of particular and historic 
interest. It is a tracing (reduced in reproduction) 
of the original sent to France by Captain Magendie, of 
the flagship " Bucentaure," and now in the archives of the 
Ministry of Marine in Paris. By special permission of 
the Minister of Marine, leave has been granted to reproduce 
it in this book the first time the plan has ever been 
published. The document is inscribed on the back : " I 61 
Plan envoye de Cadix : date de V eau anglaise le Neptune, le 
6 Brumaire, an 14: Cap. Magendie. 1 ' The "Neptune" 
was the ship on board which Villeneuve and Magendie were 
transferred from the " Mars," and lodged for a short while, 
pending the preparation of accommodation in the frigate 
"Euryalus," which was to take them to England. 

The document was apparently sent ashore to Cadiz during 
the week after the battle by the medium probably of one 
of the wounded French officers permitted by Collingwood 
to be landed on parole together with a brief covering 
letter from Captain Magendie, also now in the archives of the 
Ministry of Marine in Paris, and with a sketch plan by 
Magendie of the situation of the flagship "Bucentaure" 
at different periods of the battle. It is thus the earliest 
authentic plan of Trafalgar ever made, and may be compared 
with advantage in regard particularly to the British for- 
mation for the attack with the British plan, shown facing 
page 106, which was sent to England by the "Euryalus" as 
an enclosure with Collingwood's despatches, and was signed 



by Magendie, apparently to authenticate the positions of the 
ships of the Combined Fleet there shown. 

A copy, roughly drawn, of the British plan, with certain 
minor differences of detail, is also among the archives of the 
Ministry of Marine in Paris. That document shows the 
ships of the three navies differentiated by colours : British, 
red ; French, blue ; Spanish, yellow. It shows the British 
Fleet first at daybreak (au petit jour) as in the plan at 
page 107. It shows the British also at nine o'clock, advanc- 
ing in two wedge-shaped clusters, nearly a mile apart. 
It shows the British Fleet at noon, in the same line-ahead 
formation as appears in the British map, except that the 
rearmost eight ships of Collingwood 1 s line (not named) are 
still in a cluster, more or less abreast of one another ; with 
the "Prince 11 and "Dreadnought 11 out of station, as they are 
seen in the British plan. The rearmost seven of Nelson^ 
ships are in like manner in a cluster : first three ships nearly 
abreast; then four astern of all. In the Combined Fleet 
the position of some of the ships of Gravina's "Squadron 
of Observation 11 varies somewhat in one or two cases from 
that attributed to them in the British plan ; they are shown 
as having already, to some extent, come into line in rear 
of Villeneuve^ battle squadron ; but, otherwise, their dis- 
position is as there represented. The document is inscribed 
on the back : " 2 e Plan, envoye d^ngleterre (sans date) : 

The captain of the " Bucentaure's " plan of the 6th 
Brumaire (28th October) is of vital interest, as showing, 
from the hand of an eye-witness, the actual formation in 
which Nelson made his attack, with the ships of Colling- 
wood's division moving down slantwise, en echelon, on the 
centre and rear of the Combined Fleet in the "order of 
bearing. 11 

Captain Magendie^ series of plans of the situation of the 
flagship " Bucentaure " at various stages of the battle up 
to the moment of Admiral Villeneuve's surrender, are also 


given here, as well as a plan of Trafalgar drawn by Captain 
Lucas of the " Redoutable." That was forwarded to Paris 
by him from Reading in January, 1806, by Captain 
Magendie, on that officer's release on parole in order to give 
a personal explanation of the defeat to Napoleon, with Lucas's 
own detailed narrative of the doings of his ship. For the 
reproduction of these in this book special leave was also 
accorded by the Minister of Marine. 

[By the courtesy of Admiral Sir Cyprian Bridge, G.C.B., I 
am permitted to reproduce also the plan, explanatory of the 
movements of the fleets between midnight on Sunday, the 
20th of October, and noon on Monday, shortly before the 
first shot was fired, which was prepared by him to accompany 
his paper on the tactics of the battle (" Nelson : The Cen- 
tenary of Trafalgar "), read as a special address before the 
annual meeting of the Navy Records Society in July, 1905.] 


/T&ru)asnt & Combat'. 

d&CeZe. Gnnemi, 

efat+t e*. memtnC owe. 

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t'curmee. de. IH>U* dc. 
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Plan showing how Admiral Villeneuve's flagship, the "Bucentaure,"was cut 
off and forced to surrender ; traced from the original by Captain Magendie. 
Also general plan of the battle, showing how the attack was driven home ; 
traced from the original sent by Captain Lucas of the " Redoutable " to 
Admiral Decres. Each plan is a photographic reproduction of the tracing. 

2 F 




d I 



' 1 



Plan showing how Nelson's advance at Trafalgar was made. Drawn by Captain Magendie of 1 

(Traced from the origin 

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cob*.. La. bu 

agship "Bucentaure," and forwarded within a week of the battle to the Minister of Marine in Paris, 
d reduced by photography.) 

[From "NHLSON: THE CKNTKNARY OF TRAFALGAR." By Admiral Sir Cyprian Bridge, G.C.B. 
Reproduced by kind permission.] 


Alava, Adm., 48, 86, 111, 119, 126, 
248, 251-8, 263, 305, 328, 333, 

Alava's sword, Collingwood's claim 
to, 253-7 

Alava, Don Miguel, 250 

Alcedo, Rear-Adm., 79 

' 'Algebras," Recapture of the, 303 

Allemand, Adm., 29 

Apodoca, Don R., 276, 283 

"Armee d'Angleterre " at Bou- 
logne, 4-8 

" Avenger of Nelson," The, 182-3 

Atcherley, J., Capt., 140-2 

Badcock, Mid., 109, 272, 315 
Barham, Lord, 352 
Barker, G. A., Mid., 299 
Barrow, Sir J., 352 
Bayntun, Capt., 307 
Baudoin, Capt., 76, 168 
Beaty, Christopher, 208 
Bennett, C., Lieut., 302-3 
Bickerton, Adm., 22, 32 
Berthier, Marshal, 365 
Beurnonville, Gen., 24, 25, 329 
" Billy Ruifn Victory or Death," 

Blackwood, Capt., 82-4, 95-6,253, 


Bre'tonniere, La, Lieut., 186, 303 
British advance, Order of, 105-8 

2 G 433 

" Bucentaure," Details of sur- 
render of, 131, 137 

" Bucentaure" Captain Atcherly 
goes on board, 140-2 

" Bucentaure," Fate of, after the 
battle, 304 

Butron, A., Capt., 289 

Cadiz after the battle, Letters 

from, 326-9 
Cadiz, Lauding of the wounded 

at, 332-8 
Calder, Adm., 3, 13, 22, 24, 28, 

32, 73, 75, 98 
Camas, Capt., 209 
Captains, Villeneuve's inst notions 

to his, 53-6 

Cauchard, Sub- Lieut., 219 
Chatham war prisoners' memorial, 

Churruca, Commodore, 48, 49, 78, 

126, 274-85, 330, 412-13 
Churruca's ' ' San Juan," Fate of, 

Cisneros, Adm., 48, 78, 126, 261, 

273, 328, 333 
Codrington, E., Capt., 199, 311, 

Collingwood, Adm., 21, 22, 28, 

108, 118, 143, 191, 212-13, 235, 

251-5, 263, 266, 306, 346, 371, 

374, 379 



Collingwood's ruse off Cadiz, 


Collingwood, Mid., 182-3 
Colours nailed to the mast, Spanish, 

287-8, 290 

Combined Fleet leaving port, 81-5 
turns back for 

Cadiz, 99-100 
Contamine, Brigadier, 37, 134-5, 


Cornwallis, Adm., 12 
Corunna, Reception of the news 

at, 331-2 
Cosmao-Kerjulien, Capt., 48, 74-5, 

110, 202-4, 240, 305, 408 
Council of War, The, 48-52 

Dartmoor, War prison on, 393 
Decree, Adm., Min. of Marine, 5, 

16, 17, 32-9, 41, 52, 62, 64, 87, 

112, 128, 144, 146, 158, 365, 

395-6, 400-1, 402, 406-7 
Despatch before the battle, Ville- 

neuve's final, 87 
Despatches Collingwood's reach 

England, 348 
Digby Capt., 271 
Ducrest, Mid., 156, 171 
Dumanoir, Adm., 28, 48, 71-2, 

86, 102, 111, 119, 120-3, 127, 

192, 228-30, 232, 235, 238-9, 

240-1, 291-3, 328, 330 
Dumanoir, Adm., Court-martial 

on, 239-40 
Dumanoir's letter to the " Times," 


Dupotet, Lieut., 156, 171 
Durham, Sir P., Capt., 206 

Edwards, J., Lieut., 316 
England awaiting invasion, 8-11 
Escano, Rear-Adm., 48, 242, 328, 

Flag of truce, Collingwood's, 341 
Fouche, Minister of Police, 400 
"Fougueux," Wreck of the, 297-9 
Franklin, J., Mid., 27 
French ships, Condition of, 61 
French frigates, Why they offered 

no help, 137-9 
French regiments on board, 4S-6 

Galiano, Commodore, 48, 49, 78, 
126, 287-90, 412-13 

Ganteaume, Adm., 12, 35 

Gemahling, Capt., 234 

Gicquel des Touches, Lieut., 191 

Godoy, Prince of Peace, 24, 25, 
242, 261 

Gourrege, Capt., 76, 204-7, 330 

Gravina, Adm., 14, 25, 26, 35, 
40-2, 46, 48-9, 53, 59, 60, 67, 
77-8, 86-8, 92-4, 99, 100, 103, 
110, 118, 123, 127, 158, 202-3, 
228, 230, 242-50, 263, 285, 294, 
328, 330, 333, 371, 409-13 

Gravina's tomb and relics, 248- 

Guillemard, R., Sergeant, 179 

Guruceta, Lieut., 290 

Halloran, Second Lieut., 140, 227 
Hallowell, B., Capt., 200 
Hardy, Capt., 183, 231-2 
Hargood, Capt., 295 
Hennah, Lieut., 143 
Heroism of a French captain, 209 
Hicks, W., Mid,, 139 
Hubert, Capt., 76 
Hulks, Life in the, 386-90 

111 humour of the French officers, 

Infernet, Capt., 75-6, 123, 127, 

189-92, 194, 196-7, 199-201, 

378, 398, 408 



Infernet's promise to Napoleon, 

Jeannette of the " Achille," 219 
Jugan, Capt., 138, 246 

King George and the news of 

Trafalgar, 353 
Knight, Sir J., Adm., 226 

Lapenotiere, Lieut., 347, 348, 350 
Last ship to surrender, The, 293 
Last parade of the Grand Army, 20 
Last survivor of Trafalgar, 258-9 
La Touche Treville, Adm., 39, 403 
Lauriston, Gen., 18, 37 
Le Tourneur, Capt., 185 
Le Roy, Col., 26 

Line of battle, Villeneuve's or- 
iginal, 57-9 

Lucas, Capt., 44, 90, 112, 145-6, 
150, 157-8, 160, 169, 173-7, 
191, 378, 395, 398, 408 
Lucas's " Redoutahle " seal, 177 

Macdonell, Capt., 80 
Mack, General, 343, 344 
Madame Villeueuve's pension, 

Magendie, Capt., 134, 141-2, 144, 

Magon, Adm., 28, 29, 44, 48, 49, 

53, 66, 72-4, 86, 102, 111, 126, 

183-7, 328, 330, 408 
Magon, Death of, 184-5 
Maistral, Capt., 48, 76 
Malcolm, Sir P., Capt, 306, 310 
Marsden, Mr. W., 350, 352, 358 
Massena, Marshal, 4, 7, 76 
Missiessy, Adm., 38 
" Monarca " last night on board 

described, 307-8 
Morris, J. N., Capt., 288, 290 
Moyna, Capt., 277, 282 

Mutiny in the " San Juan," The, 
274-5, 365-6, 375, 383, 396, 
402, 403-7, 415 

Napoleon, 1, 2, 3, 20, 32-9, 159, 
175, 239 

Napoleon's change of plans, 33-4 

Napoleon's public reference to 
Trafalgar, 375 

Nelson, Lord, 2, 3, 15, 19, 22, 
46, 66, 83, 108, 150, 152, 156, 
158-9, 161, 163, 172, 181-3, 
212, 231, 235, 261-3, 266, 268, 
328, 329, 342, 354, 356, 359-64, 
371-2, 409 

News of Rosily's approach, 63-4 

News of Trafalgar at the Ad- 
miralty, 350-2 

Night alarm, The, 88-9 

Olaete, I., Lieut., 273 

Paget, Sir A., 401 
Pareja, A., Capt., 79, 294 
Paris, Rumours of Trafalgar in 

the papers, 369-71 
Paul Jones, 365 
Pellew, Israel, Capt., 139, 140-1, 


Pitt and Nelson's death, 355 
Plassan, Lieut., 185 
Pollard, J., Capt., 182 
Poulain, Capt., 330 
Prefect Mounier, 397 
Press gangs at Cadiz, 41 
Prigny, Capt., 48, 134, 141-2 
Prisoners, Fate of the, 376-7, 

379, 380, 382-94 
Prizes that escaped destruction, 

The, 311-13 

" Redoutable" : How Lucas trained 

his men, 146-8 
" Redoutable," Sinking of the, 




Reille, Gen., 37 

Return of killed and wounded. 

General, 374 
Rigodet, Sub-Lieut., 233 
Riquelme, Lieut., 256 
Robin, Commodore, 343 
Robinson, Hercules, Mid., 144 
Rosily, Adm., 36, 62-4, 248, 312, 

313, 329, 333, 371, 379 
Rumours from Lisbon reach 

London, 342 

Salcedo, Adm., 33 

" Santisima Trinidad," Lieut. 
Smith on board, 271 

"Santisima Trinidad,'' Founder- 
ing of the, 314-17 

Sartoria, J., Lieut., 273 

Se'gur, De, Napoleon's A.D.C., 

Sergeant Guillemard, Narrative 
of, 179-81 

Servaux, Pierre, 211-98 

Silence of the "Moniteur," 367-8 

Smith, Sir Sidney, 366 

Smith, Lieut., 271 

Solana, Marquis de, 26, 333, 341 

Sortie after the battle, The, 304-6 

Spanish regiments on board, 43 
ships, men on board, 62 
casualty statement, 295-6 
Trafalgar Centenary service, 

Strachan, Sir R., Com., 228, 233 

Supersession of Admiral Ville- 
neuve, 36-7 

Taylor, Col., 353 

Temper of the Spaniards at Cadiz, 


Tempie, Second Capt., 204 
Time table of events, Approximate, 

Trafalgar trophy swords, The, 143 

Ulm, news of its surrender reaches 

England, 343-5 
Uriarte, Capt., 273 

Valdez, Capt., 78-9, 110, 111, 123, 
127, 291-4 

Vasquez, G. C. (last survivor), 

Villegris, Capt., 48 

Villeneuve, Adm., 3-5, 12-21, 
23-41, 43, 45, 47-71, 74, 85-8, 
93, 97, 99, 101-4, 110, 113-14, 
116-17, 119, 120-1, 126, 128, 
134, 136-7, 140-4, 158, 176, 
184, 192, 194, 197, 247, 261, 
276, 328, 329, 371, 376-9, 394- 

Villeneuve in England, 376-9 

Villeueuve's last letter to his wife, 

Villeneuve's death, Proces-verbal 
on, 397-8 

Villeneuve's alleged letter to 
Napoleon, 401-6 

Villeneuve's farewell gifts to Lucas 
and Infernet, 398 

Yon, Mid., 152, 163 






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DA Fraser, Edward 

88 The enemy at Trafalgar 






S !